On December 8, Dialogue SOE in cooperation with CIFE, IAI, BiEPAG and ÖFZ/CFA organized a forum on the future of the Western Balkans in the European Union. The forum discussed the current achievements of the Berlin Process while aiming to put forward fresh ideas for the way on by looking at the current state of affairs in the Western Balkans.
The idea of the forum was to look at the similarities between the political processes in the Western Balkans and the rest of Europe. The guiding questions of the forum were what the WB can learn from the EU and vice versa? What the common challenges are and whether or not there are elements of togetherness?
The forum offered a platform to discuss these questions and come up with meaningful answers in the context of EU enlargement and the Berlin Process. A variety of topics emerged during the opening remarks of the panelists, which consisted group of academics and experts in the field of geopolitical developments and the EU along with MEP’s from the political Left. The panelists included Tonino Picula (S&D Fraction in the European Parliament) Vedran Džihić (BiEPAG), Eleonora Poli (IAI), Nedžma Džananović-Miraščija (Faculty of Political Sciences Sarajevo), Srećko Latal (Social Overview Service), while the discussion was moderated by Tobias Flessenkemper (CIFE).
The discussions that ensued were straight forward with asking all the relevant ‘tough’ questions on EU enlargement, the rise of the radical right in Europe, as well as conditions of precariousness every-day citizens within the EU and the WB are facing today. One of the conclusions taken out of the discussion claims that we need to revert to key political values of social justice, solidarity, equality and peace if “we do not wish right-wing populists to hijack democracy and thereby take away the political legitimacy of the institutions”.