Western Balkans Summit

Polish Presidency of the Berlin Process will host the first ministerial meeting on 11-12 April in Warsaw. Foreign ministers of the Berlin Process countries and officials from the European Commission, the European Foreign Action Service and the Regional Youth Cooperation Office will discuss bilateral issues in the Western Balkan region, the situation of young people, specifically their participation in the labour market. The Western Balkans Summit in Poznan is scheduled to take place on 4 and 5 July 2019.

The Polish Presidency has set four priorities for the Berlin Process:

1) the economy;

2) connectivity (mutual infrastructural links);

3) the civic dimension (the civil society, think tanks, youth and culture);

4) security.

Poland plans to present its cross-sectional experiences in transformation, accession negotiations and absorption of EU funds. The Polish Presidency programme was developed on the basis of broad consultations with representatives of the governments and civil societies of the Western Balkans carried out by the Government’s Plenipotentiary for the Organization of the Summit, Deputy Foreign Minister Szymon Szynkowski vel Sęk.

For more information please visit their website https://berlinprocess.info/.

Reinforcing the European Integration of the Western Balkans – Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future

Between 13 – 14 May, the IISG will be contributing to the event co-organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Republic of Poland, Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” Skopje (IDSCS) and Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW), held in the context of the civil society component of the Berlin Process, i.e. in preparation for the Poznan Summit 2019. Ms Jelka Klemenc, IISG Support Group, will be participating as moderator of the Round Table entitled “EU and Western Balkans Common Security Challenges”, featuring Fatjona Majdini, Global Initiative Against Transnational Crime, Saša Đorđević, Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCSP), Donika Emini, Kosovar Center for Security Studies, and Ivana Boštjančič Pulko, Centre for European Perspective (CEP) Ljubljana.

Second Meeting of the Regional Network of Western Balkan National P/CVE Coordinators

Between 15-16 October, EUD / EUSR to Bosnia and Herzegovina and the IISG Support Group are organising the Second Meeting of the Regional Network of Western Balkan National P/CVE Coordinators in Budva, Montenegro. The meeting will be hosted by the Ministry of the Interior of Montenegro, and financially supported by the European Commission. The regional platform is a joint effort between the Beneficiaries and the European Commission to work efficiently and effectively in order to produce concrete benefits for the countries` continuous efforts in CT and P/CVE. In this regard, the second meeting will focus on:

  • the validation of the network and the adoption of the proposed Terms of Reference,
  • National P/CVE Strategies and Action-plans, with a focus on the role of online-radicalisation, and
  • the Joint Action Plan on Counter-Terrorism for the Western Balkans, to be signed by the Commission on behalf of the EU and by the representatives of Western Balkans partners at the upcoming JHA Ministerial meeting held in Tirana on 5 October 2018.

Workshop “Enhancing Cooperation with the Western Balkans within the EU Policy cycle – Synergies, Challenges and Ideas”

The Workshop “Enhancing Cooperation with the Western Balkans within the EU Policy cycle – Synergies, Challenges and Ideas”, co-organised by the IPAII2017 Multi-Country Action – component “Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans”, the IISG Support Group hosted by DCAF Ljubljana, and Europol will take place on 5-6 September in Belgrade, Serbia.

Based on the Western Balkan Counter-Serious Crime Initiative (WBCSCi) Integrative Plan of Action 2018-2020, endorsed by the ministers of the interior at the 2nd IISG Board Meeting (Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, 16 March 2018), the meeting is going to address a concrete objective set by the IISG Partnership – to explore the possibilities to enhance the cooperation and engagement of the Western Balkan authorities in the EU Policy Cycle 2018-2021 implementation. The workshop is expected to result in concrete recommendations and will be followed-up within the IISG partnership, particularly in cooperation with Europol and relevant regional partners.

Western Balkans Summit: London 2018

On 10 July 2018 the UK will host the Western Balkans Summit in London. The summit will bring together the leaders of the Western Balkans countries and like-minded European partners to strengthen security co-operation, increase economic stability and encourage political co-operation.
For more information visit the website here.

Western Balkans Summit in London – Civil Society Messages

On the 4th July, the Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” (IDSCS), on behalf of SouthEast Europe Think Net Network will organize the event “Western Balkans Summit in London – Civil Society Messages“.

The event would serve as a venue to promote the SEE Think Net Network and its recent activities, as well as to promote two policy briefs related to the topic of security which will be discussed on the London Summit of the Berlin process.

The first one, produced by CEP Slovenia in cooperation with DCAF Slovenia, will focus on security (terrorism) and will be presented by Ms. Klemenc, IISG Senior Advisor.

The second policy paper that investigates the alignment of the Western Balkans – EU security infrastructure will be presented by Ms. Donika Marku, a researcher at the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies.

– The Network encompasses think tanks, civil society organisations and individuals from the 6 Western Balkan countries plus Croatia and Slovenia. Besides the Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” (IDSCS) which will coordinate the Network,the SEE Think Net Network includes the Network of the European Movement in Serbia (NEMinS), Open Society Foundation for Albania and its affiliate, the EU Policy Hub, Adnan Ćerimagić, Politikon Network from Montenegro, Kosovo Centre for Security Studies, the Institute for Development and International Relations (IRMO) from Croatia and the Centre for European Perspective (CEP) from Slovenia.

Western Balkans Extremism Research Forum

On 3rd July, in light of the upcoming Western Balkans Summit on 9-10th July and as part of the Berlin Process hosted by the UK, the British Council and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are organising a meeting of the Western Balkan Extremism Research Forum.

The UK presidency of the Berlin Process set out to address concerns raised in Paris and Trieste about violent extremism. Supporting this, the UK commissioned the British Council to establish the Western Balkans Extremism Research Forum, a regional research programme assessing the dimensions of threats emanating from the Western Balkans. The research findings will be used to establish policy analysis and recommendations to provide decision-makers from host countries and the international community with a stronger evidence-base to develop effective national counter violent extremism policies and programming. The findings and views have been produced by the British Council, independent of the UK Government. All the research and policy recommendations will be made available as a public good. The research is now complete and country reports are being presented in each of the Western Balkans six capitals throughout June. On 3 July, researchers from across the Western Balkans will present their findings in Brussels. This is the first opportunity to discuss the region-wide findings and the implications for future policy and programming.

“Going Together and in Partnership on Countering Violent Extremism” – Western Balkans CVE Regional Meeting

On 4th June, the Albanian National Coordinator for Countering Violent Extremism will hold a regional meeting on the topic of countering violent extremism (CVE) with key stakeholders from the region and beyond, entitled “Going Together and in Partnership on Countering Violent Extremism” – Western Balkans CVE Regional Meeting. The aim of the event will be to foster the partnership and cooperation among the WB countries, through raising the awareness on the needs to properly address violent extremism issues, as an irreplaceable component in the package of measures against terrorism.

In specific, the meeting will have two objectives:

  • to bring together key regional stakeholders, from policy-makers, representatives from relevant public institutions to civil society, education, and religious representatives, that can directly contribute to the matter,
  • to raise awareness on the need to advance in the efforts to develop community-oriented approaches for countering hateful extremist ideologies that cause radicalization, promote recruitment or incite to violence.

Common PCVE challenges in Western Balkans and European Union

In order to increase the exchange of information between practitioners and national policymakers, RAN will in the year 2018 deliver six Policy and Practice Events. The “Common PCVE challenges in Western Balkans and European Union” is just the first which aims to attract both groups of actors (authorities agencies, NGOs, and communities) in the Western Balkans and European Union to target common challenges in Preventing and Countering Violent Extremism (PCVE). The meeting will be divided into two related topics, whereas the first part will be dedicated to the effective and sustainable partnership of all actors involved, and the second part will focus on addressing the vulnerability of young children (pre-teens) in extremist environments. Participants will also discuss options for responding to young returnees to the Western Balkans whose parents have joined terrorist groups.

This meeting will be organized by RAN in collaboration with the Bulgarian Presidency.

For more information please visit the RAN website here.

IPAII 2017 “Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans”: Kick-Off Workshop in Macedonia

Within the Instrument of Pre-Accession (IPA) II 2017, the regional action “Countering Serious Crime in the Western Balkans”,  funded by the EU (DG NEAR) and Germany (German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development), the implementing partners (the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH on behalf of the German Government, the Italian Ministry of Interior and the Center for International Legal Cooperation (CILC)) are organizing a series of kick-off workshops representing the official start of the project in the Western Balkans.

The overall objective of the project is to improve the security in the Western Balkans and the EU by combatting organized crime and terrorism. Emphasizing the need for awareness raising and cooperation among regional and national capacities to counter serious crimes, which included the recovery of illegal financial gains and the fight against illegal migrant smuggling.

The projects` kick-off workshops in the Western Balkan countries, will be organized as follows:

  • Belgrade, Serbia: 19th– 20th February,
  • Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina: 22nd– 23rd February,
  • Tirana, Albania: 26th– 27th February,
  • Podgorica, Montenegro:  28th– 29th February,
  • Pristina, Kosovo (under UNSCR 1244/99): 5th– 6th March,
  • Skopje, Macedonia: 7th– 8th March 2018.