EU sports NGOs have teamed up with their counterparts in the Balkan region in the hope of advancing European integration.
The project aims to promote transnational dialogue between citizens in EU countries and those in aspiring members of the bloc in South-East Europe, specifically Croatia, Macedonia and Albania.
The initiative will see three local 'Citizens' Panels' organised in Zagreb, Skopje and Tirana to share experiences of the role of sport in developing civil society.
The project seeks to strengthen citizens' "civic competencies" on policy dialogue and democratic decision-making processes and the role of sport in the matter.
The panel discussions will contribute to a citizens' forum on sport to be held in Slovenia in November.
The forum will produce recommendations on the role of sports organisations in promoting volunteering and developing civil society. These will be submitted in the form of a final declaration to policymakers at national and EU level.
The 12 partners in the 'Sport and Cultures in Dialogue' project consortium are led by the International Sport and Culture Association (ISCA).
According to the consortium, the project is strongly linked to the EU enlargement process "by setting up structures for dialogue and promoting partnerships between citizens and organisations from current EU member countries and organisations in EU candidate and potential candidate countries".
This, it adds, provides "valuable input into the ongoing process of European integration" and the development of a European democratic identity, while at the same time recognising and taking into account cultural differences.