Reconciliation and Good Neighbourly Relations in the Western Balkans: A Continuing Dilemma?

BRUSSELS – Various initiatives put forward to deal with the issues of reconciliation in the Western Balkans and additional efforts by the countries of the region and the EU needed to ensure the resolution of issues prior to accession, are the topics of the event by Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) on June 21.

As the countries of the Western Balkan region prepare to fulfil the criteria for EU accession, the issues relating to reconciliation and good neighbourly relations and resolving bilateral disputes remain as seemingly insurmountable obstacles. A weak judiciary combined with a reluctance to address the open wounds and handling of war crimes from the 1990s in some of the countries is fuelling the enduring deep mistrust in society.

Meanwhile, numerous bilateral disputes continue to cast a shadow over the entire region. The EU has insisted that it will not import bilateral disputes and that they must be resolved by the parties concerned prior to accession. It has underlined that reconciliation, good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation are prerequisites for accession.

Speakers at the event will be Eduard Kukan, Member of the European Parliament and Ana Marjanović Rudan from RECOM initiative (Regional Commission for the Establishment of facts about victims of war crimes and other serious human rights violations committed in the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001), and the Chair of the meeting will be Erwan Fouéré, Associate Senior Research Fellow from CEPS.