Saturday, May 25, 2024


The first civil society summit from the Western Balkan countries was held in Tirana. A new horizon of regional cooperation and an opportunity to look beyond the partition walls. Civil society remains the foundation of promoting European values ​​and establishing integrative coordinates promoted through the Berlin Process.

Author: Bardhyl Zaimi

Increasingly, the Western Balkan countries are expanding their co-operation and giving another impetus to the idea of ​​being in full correlation with European values. Slowly but surely, countries in the region are redesigning their predisposition to be an integral part of the EU. In the function of substantial cooperation outside the historical and political clichés was also the organization of first civil society summit in Tirana from the Fondi i Ballkanit Perëndimor, ku kanë marrë Western Balkans Fund, attended by representatives of non-governmental organizations from all Western Balkan countries.

In the path of strengthening regional cooperation, civil society remains a fundamental factor. This has been the main message delivered by this summit in Tirana, which for three days has given the necessary debate to civil society, given new energy to alternate the notion of regional co-operation as an opportunity to be all together part of the best European values.

The Western Balkans Fund, through a comprehensive approach, has brought together various CSOs, fundraisers, and donor community representatives at the First Civil Society Summit to exchange information and ideas that can contribute to the future of the process of regional cooperation and reconciliation.

Participants in this first civil society summit in the region have spoken of the need for co-operation and reconciliation as a crucial premise for paving the way to the progress and overall development. They also stressed that civil society remains ready to cooperate and open new horizons of development in the countries of the region. “Regional cooperation is a comprehensive process; it cannot be successful without civil society. The fund seeks to become a bridge for civil society with Governments”, emphasized the Executive Director of the Western Balkans Fund, Gjergj Mura.

Lenka Vitkova, Head of the EU’s Justice and Home Affairs Operations Section in Albania, said that “the commitment that comes from the European Commission and the EU is for the integration of the region. Civil society has an important role. They are the main link with the citizens of the region. There is one priority that the EU has and it is the focus on human rights. ”

According to her, the Balkan Fund is a welcome initiative that brings Governments together to strengthen relations.” We have more than 200 projects in the region. We believe that reconciliation and cooperation, good neighborly relations come from the countries themselves. The European project is a project of peace, reconciliation, dispute resolution and civil society plays an important role”.

The first civil society summit in Tirana is in the continuation of the European orientation of countries of the region, in the continuation of the collapse of the schematic walls erected from the past. Civil society remains one of the most important factors for the consolidation of democratic life, a means of promoting and cultivating modern policies of functioning in all possible spheres of institutional life. Politics without the civil dimension remains deficient and risks degenerating into decisions that are incompatible with a system of European values ​​that are constantly promoted by civil society.

Precisely in sync with this comprehensive idea of ​​being part of modern politics, of open concepts, civil society tears down the cold walls of the past, which often resemble the walls of the Greek poet Kavafis. Civil society is the paradigm of another time, the horizon of another overview, recognizing the other, respecting the other as a cultural value, as a citizen and as unprejudiced being.

The holding of several workshops during this summit has also been aimed at exploring new collaborative opportunities, promoting a better quality education, more intensive communications and cultural interconnections. Each group in these workshops has presented its recommendations for Governments and donors, as well as to the priorities of civil society engagement.

The Western Balkans Fund is an intergovernmental instrument, a regional initiative, which visualizes the Western Balkans region as peaceful region and integrated into the European Union. The Western Balkans Fund is an international organization created by the Governments of the Contracting Parties such as Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. The FBP creation agreement was signed by the BP6 Foreign Ministers in November 2015. The Fund officially started operating on 1 October 2017, following the completion of ratification procedures by the Parliaments of the Contracting Parties.

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