BERLIN – On 1 and 2 June 2021, the Aspen Institute Germany, in cooperation with the Southeast Europe Association and supported by the German Federal Foreign Office, will organize the Western Balkans “Civil Society & Think Tank Forum I: Road to Berlin” of this year’s Berlin Process Summit. This year, the summit will be hosted by the German Government, which originally launched the process in 2014.
Due to the pandemic, the Civil Society & Think Tank Forum will have to take place in an online format.
Since 2014, the Berlin Process aims to support Western Balkan countries’ EU accession process by strengthening regional cooperation and facilitating for continuous dialogue among these countries as well as EU member states during annual summits taking place throughout Europe, the announcement reads.
The first day of the Forum will feature four panel discussions, concerning the general achievements of the Berlin Process, Green Deal, connectivity agenda, and reconciliation. On the second day, economic cooperation and expectations for the Berlin Process Summit 2021 will be discussed.
The participants of the first panel discussion, Alexander Jung from the German Federal Chancellery, Michela Matuella, Acting Director for the Western Balkans at DG NEAR, Tanja Miščević, Deputy Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council and Aleksandra Tomanić, Executive Director of the European Fund for the Balkans, will review the intentions and expectations of the Berlin Process before assessing its track record throughout the last eight years. They will also reflect on the upcoming summit as well as the future of this process.
The “Civil Society & Think Tank Forum I: Road to Berlin” will convene experts, think-tankers, and civil society representatives from the Western Balkan countries to debate a wide range of challenges in the region jointly, within various working groups.
Among the topic of the working groups, each of which will be facilitated by a CSO from the region, will be Addressing Legacies of the Past and Regional Confidence Building, The Role of the Civil Society in Strengthening Democracy, Countering Disinformation and Strengthening Media Independence, as well as The Future of the EU in the Western Balkans.
During the final panel, the working groups’ policy recommendations as well as their expectations for this year’s Berlin Process Summit will be presented by designated rapporteurs and discussed with high-level decisionmakers, including State Secretary Miguel Berger from the German Federal Foreign Office, ahead of their respective deliberations at the Summit.
The conclusions of the working groups will be put in the spotlight and discussed with government representatives throughout the second conference, the “Civil Society & Think Tank Forum II: Berlin 2021”, which will coincide with the Berlin Process Summit.