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Civil Society Forum of the Western Balkans begins in Tirana

Igor Crnadak and Miroslav Lajčák

On 26-28 April in Tirana, the next edition of the Civil Society Forum Series of the Western Balkans series will take place, bringing together civil society organizations from Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, and policy makers from the region and EU.

The Civil Society Forum Tirana 2017 will build upon the achievements of the Civil Society Forum of the Western Balkans Summit Vienna 2015, and the Civil Society Forums in Belgrade, Paris and Skopje in 2016. The event will serve as a preparatory meeting to the Western Balkans Summit 2017, which will be held in July in Trieste, Italy.

This time the Forum will build up on the broader issue of civil society contributing in setting the European agenda, in making and debating policy proposals, monitoring policy results and achievements, and on formulating key messages and recommendations concerning the topics of the Trieste Summit, such as:

  • Reflections about the current state and the future of the Berlin Process
  • Youth cooperation
  • Rule of law/anti-corruption
  • Business environment and innovation (including role of SME (small and medium enterprise) and innovative platforms for cooperation)
  • Bilateral issues

Objective in Tirana is to propose constructive and feasible policy recommendations that further support the reform process engaged by our countries in their way towards EU membership. Those proposals will pro-actively bring the voice of Balkan citizens, civil society and other non-governmental actors into the table of the Western Balkans Summit in Trieste. Working together with their counterparts in the EU, as well as with policy-makers, will increase the efficiency and the utility of the Tirana CSF policy recommendations.

Among 100 participants, representatives of EU institutions, institutions from Member States, representatives of the parliaments of Western Balkans states and Members of the European Parliament and Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be present. Ditmir Bushati, Hannes Swoboda, Tanja Fajon, Ulrike Lunacek, Majlinda Bregu, Michele Giacomelli, Eduard Shalsi, Florian Bieber, Marko Čadež, Peter Grk, Sonja Licht, Hedvig Morvai, Ardian Hackaj, and Đuro Blanuša will be among the participants of Civil Society Forum Tirana 2017.


The Civil Society Forum of the Western Balkans Series is focused on establishing a sustainable and relevant second-track platform in the so-called “Berlin Process”, creating an impetus for debate among decision makers and wider Europe. The series was launched with the idea of being recognized as a relevant segment where governments and politicians in the region can continuously maintain closer cooperation with civil society now and in the future.

The Civil Society Forum of the Western Balkans is a joint initiative of the European Fund for the Balkans, ERSTE Foundation and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. The local partner of the Civil Society Forum Tirana 2017 is the Cooperation and Development Institute Tirana.

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