Reflection Forum: “The Western Balkans in the European Union: Perspectives of a region in Europe?”

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Trieste, 26-27.06.2017

On 26-27 June 2017, Cooperation and Development Institute participated to the 2nd edition of the Reflection Forum, held in Trieste on the run up of the Trieste Summit on the Western Balkans of 12 July 2017. This Reflection forum was organized by Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), the Centre International de Formation Européenne (CIFE) and the Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe (CFA/ÖFZ).
The Forum was greeted by the President of the Friuli-Venezia Region Mrs. Debora Serracchiani, Special Envoy from the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the Trieste Summit Mr. Michele Giacomelli, Mr. Peter Grk from the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mrs. Margot Klestil-Löffler on behalf of
Central European Initiative, MEP TanjaFajon etc.

This Forum convened the community of European Experts and Think Tanks working on EU integration and the Western Balkans.

The most relevant topics discussed during the forum covered issues such as:
• Regional tensions and bilateral conflicts in the Western Balkans: how regional tensions become European problems?
• Internal and regional security: going beyond the repressive security cooperation?
• Investing in infrastructures and knowledge: escaping the gendered-economy trap?
• Refitting the European Model Western Balkan style

Participants affirmed the importance of the EU enlargement process for the countries of the Western Balkans.

Some of the main findings and recommendation were:

i. The model of EU enlargement process of the WB6 has not delivered what it has promised, and it has to be revised;
ii. Inequality has drastically increased and the economic growth under 3% cannot guarantee welfare;
iii. Migration, especially of youngsters, needs to be properly assessed and addressed with long-term measures preventing it;
iv. More capital needs to be invested in education,research and development, in parallel to the infrastructural connectivity projects;
v. Formal communication should be established with medium political level, European Parliament and media.

This event brought together members and representatives of Western Balkans and European Think Tanks, academic, media, as well as high ranking officials and diplomats.

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