- September 10, 2020
- September 11, 2020
On September 10-11, 2020 the Aspen Institute Germany hosted a digital conference on the topic of “Emigration from the Western Balkans – Addressing the Challenge“. The conference offered a closed-door and confidential platform for a select group of high-level decision-makers from the Western Balkans, Germany, the EU as well as international organizations to identify and discuss the key challenges the Western Balkan countries and their partners are facing due to emigration.
In the course of the two-day conference, the discussion focused on the key areas in which reforms are needed to reduce push factors for emigration and to promote the return of emigrants, namely reforms concerning the rule of law, democracy, and anti-corruption, but also in the areas of education and labor market policy. Another topic of the conference was the process of policy-making in the field of emigration with regard to the necessary involvement of relevant state and non-state actors at various levels of governance. The multifaceted role of the diaspora was another point of discussion. Participants formulated ideas on how the financial contribution through remittances could be used more effectively for the economic development of the countries, but also how potential returnees could be successfully integrated into the domestic labor market. Finally, the potential of regional cooperation in addressing the challenge was highlighted, including through coordination of national policies, cooperation in data collection, as well as through the continued implementation of the Regional Economic Area (REA) that was agreed upon at the Berlin Process Summit in Trieste in 2017.
The conference was organized in the framework of Aspen’s Regional Dialog on the Western Balkans, which is kindly supported by the German Federal Foreign Office.