400+ participants / 50+ speakers / 15+ panels


Day 1

16:45 – 17:45

Open Balkan and Berlin Process – Labyrinth of Regional Cooperation

Without encouraging close regional cooperation in the post-conflict area of the Western Balkans, the process of reconciliation, economic development and social progress are almost impossible to achieve.

In the past, many platforms, networks and projects of regional cooperation were launched with more or less success. One of those that achieved some success is the Berlin Process – the initiative launched in 2014 by Germany and joined by many EU member states. Its primary focus is on the economy and infrastructural connectivity but also on solving some of the more pressing political challenges. On the other hand, the Open Balkan initiative was launched three years ago by Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia under the then informal name “Mini-Schengen”. The impetus for this idea came from the region intending to create a single area of free movement of goods, capital, persons and services. The initiative has not yet included all the Western Balkans countries, and it seems that it does not have the undivided support of all Western stakeholders.

There is a lot of ambiguity regarding these two initiatives. Can they coexist despite similar proclaimed goals? Why are there doubts in the EU region regarding the intentions of launching the Open Balkan? Can the Berlin Process speed up the realization of initiated investments and projects in the current format? What is the relationship between these two initiatives and the broader processes of EU enlargement and the expansion of the NATO security umbrella?

Goran Buldioski
Jovana Marović
Edward P. Joseph
Odeta Barbullushi
Veton Surroi
Zoran Nechev




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