BELGRADE – Civil Society Forum, as an integral part of the Berlin Process, will bring together more than 200 civil society and state representatives from the Western Balkans and the European Union in Trieste on July 11-12, to elaborate policy alternatives and to recommend actions in response to the key challenges faced by the region today.
Hedvig Morvai, the Executive Director of the European Fund for the Balkans, which coordinates the Civil Society Forum, stressed that the Forum is a unique opportunity for the civil society to influence the policy decisions that will be adopted at the intergovernmental Summit of the Western Balkans and the EU countries: “The civil society organisations will present policy recommendations regarding the priority topics of the Summit – regional cooperation and bilateral relations, rule of law and fight against corruption, youth cooperation, improvement of business climate for innovative enterprises, environment and climate change, and more efficient communications of the Berlin process.” She said that debates on the backsliding of democracy in the Balkans, on the migrations and media freedoms, and on the relevance of Brexit to the European perspective of the region will also be initiated at the two-day series of panels and workshops.
The civil society representatives will also meet the Italian Minster of Foreign Affairs, Angelino Alfano, the European Commissioner of European Neighbourd Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn, as well as Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Albania, Macedonia and Montenegro, Ditmir Bushati, Nikola Dimitrov and Srđan Darmanović to discuss the Civil Society Forum policy recommendations on the priority topics of the intergovernmental Summit: regional cooperation and bilateral relations, rule of law and fight against corruption, youth cooperation, improvement of business climate for innovative enterprises, environment and climate change, and more efficient communications of the Berlin process.
The Civil Society Forum will be participated, among others, by the Prime Ministers of Macedonia and Albania, Zoran Zaev and Edi Rama, Serbian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ivica Dačić, Goran Svilanović, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council.
Participants of this year’s Civil Society Forum will debate the issues such as democracy in the Western Balkans, creative industries and youth tourism, environment, energy and climate change, the role of civil society in communicating the Berlin Process, migrations, Brexit, media and journalism.
The goal of the Civil Society Forum meeting in Trieste is to support regional cooperation and “Europeanisation” of the Balkans through more active civil society participation in the decision-making process.