Regional conference "Move.Link.Engage. New Modes of Governance in the Western Balkans" starts today in Belgrade

BELGRADE – The regional conference “Move.Link.Engage. New Modes of Governance in the Western Balkans”, organized by the Centre for European Integration of the Belgrade Open School and the Office for Cooperation with Civil Society of the Government of the Republic of Serbia, will be held on 8th and 9th of December 2016 in Belgrade. The Conference is supported by the Europe for Citizens Programme of the European Union.

The 2016 Move.Link.Engage. conference addresses issues which foster or constrain the establishment of new forms of public policy making that should enable public participation and increase the role of civil society in Western Balkans region.

New new forms of public policy making are favourable for the civil society by expanding space for participation. However, replacement of traditional with new modes of governance turns out to be really challenging for Western Balkans countries. While progressing in its European integration the region is shaken with decline in democratic practices and swamped with good governance initiatives, of both state and civil society.

The conference will promote and encourage regional approach to resolving shared problems and foster cooperation by promoting Europe for Citizens Programme as one of the instruments to be utilized at the regional level. Starting with debate on Western Balkans as a region with shared remembrance and political narratives, the Conference will promote civil society dialogue as an instrument for overcoming regional patterns which hamper the adoption of European democratic values. It continues with an overview of the state of democracy in the region in 2016 and further reflection on the conditions for establishing new modes of governance through two cross-regional topics: Good Governance and Civil Society and Youth Employability.

The Programme

On the first day of the Conference there will be a panel on the topic of “Western Balkans between European Integration and Decline of Democracy”, which will be attended by Damjan Zdravev, president of Reactor from Skopje, Vedran Džihić from the Institute for Political Sciences of the University of Vienna, Srđan Đurović from the Centre for Applied European Studies and Milka Domanović from the Centre for Research, Transparency and Accountability (CRTA).

The second day of the Conference will begin with the resentation of the policy research “Civil Society and Decision Making in the European Integration Framework: Cases of Public Consultations” by Tamara Branković, Researcher at the Belgrade Open School and Jovana Marović, Associate at Institut Alternativa from Montenegro.

The conference will continue with the joint session “Where Are We Now from the Perspective of 2016 Country Reports?”, where the panellists will be Christiane Westphal from the European Commission – DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, Sofija Mandić from the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, Adnan Čerimagić from the European Stability Initiative in Sarajevo, and Nikoleta Tomović from the Centre for Monitoring and Research, Podgorica. The session will be moderated by Marko Vujačić, Researcher at the European Research Academy (EURAK) Belgrade and PhD candidate at the University of Graz.

The Conference will conclude with two parallel sessions on the aforementioned two cross-regional topics, Good Governance and Civil Society and Youth Employability.

The first session, “Are the Western Balkans countries reliable partners to civil society in improving democratization?”, will be attended by Raša Nedeljkov from the Centre for Research, Transparency and Accountability and moderated by Jelena Pajovic van Reenen, Executive Director at the Civil Society House.

The second session, “New youth, with new skills for new jobs – What’s the Agenda?”, will be attended by Christiane Westphal from the European Commission – DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion and Pierre Bosser & Regis Pradal from InernsGoPro, Berlin, and moderated by Jelena Manic Radoičić, Employability Program Manager at the  Belgrade Open School.