- 15 June 2015 - 18 June 2015
Policy Program | Conference on “Democratic Governance and Public Administration Reform in the Western Balkans“
On June 15-18, 2015, the Aspen Institute Germany with the support of the Federal Foreign Office co-hosted a closed conference with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia in Belgrade entitled “Democratic Governance and Public Administration Reform in the Western Balkans“. The conference was opened by Ivica Dačić, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia, and Rüdiger Lentz , Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Germany. High-level participants from the Western Balkan Six, Germany, and international and regional organizations identified and discussed central challenges the Western Balkan countries and their partners are facing. The evaluation of the current state of democratic governance and public administration was the starting point. Also questions for improvement and the role of the European Union were outlined. Moreover, the importance of a well-functioning administration was discussed. Thereby, the role of public services and human resources management was highlighted. Furthermore, accountability and transparency measures, also in the context of further reforms, were debated. The conference also stressed the importance of state institutions’ integrity including the depoliticization of the public sector. Participants searched for solutions of how to improve the effectiveness and transparency of the checks and balances system and how to make the political discourse more constructive. The conference’s last session focused on the role of parliament. Hereby, participants discussed improvements of and challenges for the legislative. Moreover, the role of political parties and different civil society actors was stressed. Participants agreed that democratic governance and public administration reform will remain essential elements of the reform processes in the Western Balkans and prerequisites for long-term peace, prosperity, and democracy in the region.