On 17th September the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) and the Republic Center for Support of persons with Intellectual Disability (PORAKA) hosted the first ever EASPD Regional Provider Forum. Bringing together over 90 participants online, among whom were representatives of the Belgrade Open School – Marina Lukić. The forum addressed the key challenges and trends of service provision in non-EU countries from the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership regions. Speakers came together to explore how the EU could work with these regions to strengthen their cooperation, while promoting the provision of sustainable, community-based support services for persons with disabilities.
Representatives of EASPD member organisations from Albania, Armenia, Georgia, Kosovo*, Moldova, North Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey, who work to deliver support and social care services to persons with disabilities across the life cycle, were joined by a representative of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiation (DG NEAR). The webinar highlighted common trends that are present across these regions and provided the chance to learn about EU funding opportunities available to support social services. EASPD welcomed the willingness of DG NEAR to explore further cooperation with social services in the region and develop support mechanisms to build the capacity of the sector, helping them to unlock more of these opportunities.