In the frames of the Vienna Western Balkans Summit which was held in August, the Western Balkans Foreign Ministers adopted the text of the „Declaration on Bilateral Issues“, and committed themselves to a resolution of all open questions in the spirit of good neighbourliness and commitment to European Integration. The Declaration, was drafted by the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) and it is an integral part of the policy brief ”Removing Obstacles to EU Accession: Bilateral Disputes in the Western Balkans” which was prepared in cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs. By adopting this document, the Western Balkan states pledged to not block, or otherwise impede their neighbours’ progress towards the European Union.
As a follow-up of this latest event and as a part of the regional presentation of the BiEPAG policy brief and recommendations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Albania in cooperation with the BiEPAG, European Fund for the Balkans, University of Graz and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung organised the conference : The solution of bilateral disputes – a work in progress on 9th of December, 2015. The Albanian ministry officials were joined by the European Fund for the Balkans Executive Director, Hedvig Morvai, BiEPAG Coordinator Florian Bieber and BiEPAG Member Nikola Dimitrov as speakers.
The conferences was focused on the presentation of the policy brief Removing obstacles to EU accession: Bilateral disputes in the Western Balkans” and policy recommendations on the solution of bilateral disputes in the Western Balkans.
As it was stressed at the panels, the Final Declaration of Vienna Western Balkans Summit underlines the priority of solving and developing bilateral relations with the neighbourly countries and further develops the process of European integration and promotion of European values.
Therefore, it is essential for national and international actors to engage in tackling the bilateral disputes, in the name of their own right, the regional cooperation and the progress of EU integration process.
The Berlin Process is seen as a great opportunity for the Western Balkan countries to address these open and potential bilateral issues and to work together towards a common European future.
The policy brief and recommendations can be found at the following link.