Aspen Germany held a stimulating closed-door conference “Democratization and the Role of Parliaments in the Western Balkans”
Last week, Aspen Germany held a stimulating closed-door conference “Democratization and the Role of Parliaments in the Western Balkans” as part of “Aspen Western Balkans Stakeholder Forum 2022”, which is kindly supported by the German Federal Foreign Office. With over 40 distinguished members of parliament, government officials, activists, and think tank leaders from the Western Balkans and Germany attending, the conference discussions were vibrant, meaningful, and candid.
At an inflection point for the European integration of the Western Balkans, the conference helped spark new ideas and prospects for collaboration.
Highlights of the conference included a welcome dinner featuring insightful remarks from Volkmar Klein, Member of Parliament, German Bundestag, frank roundtable discussions with Christiane Hullmann, Head of Division 209 Western Balkans at the German Federal Foreign Office, and Manuel Sarrazin, Federal Government Special Representative for the Countries of the Western Balkans on prospects for European integration of the Western Balkans, and an hourlong Bundestag meeting with Yvonne Magwas, Vice President, German Bundestag.
We were also honored to hold a dinner reception with six Member of Parliament’s who stayed late into the night for impassioned, productive discussions with our participants: Valentin Abel, Adis Ahmetović, Metin Hakverdi, Jasmina Hostert, Anton Hofreiter, and Josip Juratovic.
Moreover, the conference included a thought-provoking meeting with Dr. Eva Flecken, Director of Medienanstalt Berlin-Brandenburg (mabb) and Dr. Tobias Schmid, European Representative to the European Director’s Conference of the State Media Authorities and Director of Landesanstalt für Medien NRW, expertly moderated by Aspen trustee and Germany’s former Coordinator of Transatlantic Cooperation Dr. Karsten Voigt.
And perhaps most significantly, we held over nine hours of dialogue sessions featuring input from our distinguished Western Balkans participants. These sessions focused on the following topics: Rule of Law and Democratization, Role of Parliaments, Media Freedom, Political Polarization (featuring passionate remarks from Boris Mijatović, Member of Parliament, German Bundestag), and Role of External Actors.
The Aspen Institute Germany thanks all participants and external contributors for participating in these crucial exchanges and for their longstanding engagement in the Western Balkans region. Aspen Germany is looking forward to continuing this important dialogue during future projects of the “Western Balkans Stakeholder Forum 2022”.