European Western Balkans

Civil Society Forum this week in Tirana: Enlargement, security and environment among topics on the agenda

Tirana; Photo: Wikimedia Commons

TIRANA – Civil Society & Think Tank Forum Tirana 2023 takes place on 14 and 15 October. The final agenda, released on Tuesday, includes panels on EU enlargement, security, digitalization, green agenda, and energy.

The Forum will be opened on Saturday, 14 October, and the participants will be addressed by Erion Veliaj, Mayor of Tirana, Andi Dobrushi, Western Balkans Director at the Open Society Foundations, Manuel Sarrazin,  Special Representative of the Federal Republic of Germany and Ioannis Armakolas, Head of South-East Europe Programme at ELIAMEP.

The panel discussions which will be held on the first day are titled “The Politics of Enlargement”, “Breaking Barriers to Regional Security Cooperation”, “Full Access to the EU Single Market as a Pathway to Prosperity” and “A process that delivers: Enhancing the Berlin Process through Accountability Mechanisms”.

On Sunday, 15 October, another four panel discussions will take place: “Challenging ‘the Lack of Administrative Capacities’ Narrative: How Can the Western Balkans Absorb More EU Funding?”, “Towards a Just and Inclusive Energy Transition”, “Reaching Over the Digital Fence” and “The Prospects of Mobility Driven Research and Innovation”.

Speakers at the Civil Society Forum include multiple government officials from the region: Igli Hasani, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, Taulant Balla, Minister of Internal Affairs of Albania, Xhelal Sveçla, Minister of Internal Affairs of Kosovo, Tanja Miščević, Minister of European Integration of Serbia, Bojan Marichikj, Deputy Prime Minister of North Macedonia, as well as former Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Albania and North Macedonia, Ditmir Bushati and Nikola Dimitrov.

Representatives of international organizations and civil society who will speak at the Forum include Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council, Ardian Hackaj, Research Director of the Cooperation and Development Institute, Aleksandra Tomanić, Executive Director of the European Fund for the Balkans and Adnan Ćerimagić, Senior Analyst for the Western Balkans at the European Stability Initiative.

Civil Society Forum Tirana 2023 is being organized by the Open Society Foundation – Western Balkans, acting under the mandate of the Government of Albania, which currently holds the Presidency of the Berlin Process. The event is a collaborative effort between OSF-WB, the Hellenic Foundation for European & Foreign Policy, and the Cooperation and Development Institute.

The Civil Society Forum is a platform for enabling dialogue between Balkan citizens and regional and European decision-makers, within the Berlin Process. Its goal is to ensure civil society participation in the deliberation and creation of policies tailored to bring the countries of the region closer to each other and to anchor them in the European Union.

The series was launched in 2015 with the Civil Society Forum of the Western Balkans Summit Vienna 2015. The last CSF was organized in 2022 in Berlin, hosted by the Aspen Institute from Germany and the Southeast Europe Association which gathered more than 100 participants.

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