• 14 September 2015 - 17 September 2015

    Policy Program | Conference on “Regional Cooperation in the Western Balkans“

    On September 14 to 17, 2015, the Aspen Institute Germany with the support of the Federal Foreign Office co-hosted a conference with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro in Budva. The topic of the conference was “Regional Cooperation in the Western Balkans“. Regional dialog and cooperation in the Western Balkans has substantially improved over the past years. However, difficulties remain. Against this background, participants focused on questions of economic and security cooperation. After evaluating the current state of regional cooperation, the role of civil society was discussed. In this regard, the recent Civil Society Forum at the Vienna Summit was a point of discussion. Furthermore, regional cooperation was related to different security issues. Participants talked about the ways of how to combat terrorism, foreign fighters, and organized crime in the Western Balkans. Besides, the current migration crisis was mentioned as a challenge for the Western Balkans and was diversely discussed from political, social, and economic perspectives. When it came to regional economic cooperation, energy security and infrastructure development were on the agenda. Especially the role of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and its South East Europe 2020 Strategy were on the table. Participants concluded that much was done during the last years, but more has to be done in the upcoming years. The role of the European Union to foster regional cooperation in the Western Balkans will remain essential for improvements.