“IPA, Western Balkans and Civic Society”
The International conference on IPA, Western Balkans and Civic Society was organized on May 26th in Podgorica by the European Movement in Montenegro (EMIM), supported by East East Program of the Open Society Institute and Balkan Trust for Democracy.
This Conference was organised as a part of the project “Ljubljana Agenda for the New Phase of the Stabilization and Association Process”, which represents continuation of the activities initiated by the successful implementation of the project “Regional Framework for Development and European Integration” in 2007 by a network of think-tanks from South East Europe (SEE).
The topics of the Conference were selected according to the fact that the most of the key priorities for development of the countries of the Western Balkans are related to processes of European Integration. In this context, most of development and reform projects will be finalized through the system of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA). For successful realization of these projects, the coherent communication between major stake-holders in this process – structures of European Union from one side and Governments and civil society actors from the countries of the Western Balkans from the other side, will be needed.
Having in mind above mentioned need for constant and efficient communication and cooperation between stake-holders in the process of efficient use of IPA funds in WB, the International Conference „IPA, Western Balkans and Civic Society“ aimed to launch a debate on several related issues. Namely, the level of activity of civic society actors in processes of European integration within the countries of the Western Balkans was explored. In addition to that, there was a clear intention to put more light on quantity and quality of communication between Governments and NGOs in these countries regarding reform processes and preparation for absorption of IPA funds and realization of future projects, as well as to search for solution how to enhance and encourage coordination during the entire process of European Integration between structures of European Union and Governments and civic societies of the WB countries.
The conference was officially opened by Mr. Momčilo Radulović, Secretary General, European Movement in Montenegro, Mr. Pierre Mirel, Director for Western Balkans in the DG Enlargement of European Commission and Ms. Maja Bobic, Secretary General, European Movement in Serbia.
The conference was divided into two sessions/panels:
Panel I – “Civic society and European integration processes – achievements and new goals” moderated by Stevo Muk, Institute “Alternativa” with the following presenters: Mrs. Sanja Elezovic, FOSI ROM, Director; Mr. Ditmir Bushati, Secretary General, European Movement in Albania (EMA); Ms. Maja Bobic Secretary General, European Movement in Serbia and Mr. Qemajl Marmullakaj, KIPRED, Kosovo.
Panel II – “IPA – between governments and civil societies” moderated by Jelena Dzankic, EMIM, Podgorica and with the following presenters: Mrs. Ratka Sekulovic, Deputy Secretary for European Integration of the Government of Montenegro; Ms. Daliborka Uljarevic, Director, Centre for Civic Education, Podgorica; Ms. Ana Jese, Program Director for Balkans, Institute for Strategic Studies (ISS GROUP); Mr. Thomas Schmidt, Ambassador of Federal Republic of Germany to Montenegro and Natasa Gospodjinacki, CBIB Team Leader.
Panel III – “How to make IPA efficient – From Brussels to governments and NGOs of Western Balkans and vice verse” moderated by Momčilo Radulović, Secretary General, EMIM and the presenters were Mr. Vassilis Maragos, DG Enlargement, European Commission, Brussels; Mrs. Gordana Djurovic, Vice President of Government of Montenegro; Ms. Tanja Miscevic, Head of the Office for European Integration, Government of Serbia, and Ms. Darija Ramljak, Deputy director, Directorate for European Integration, Council of Ministers of BiH.
- IPA policy framework for the Balkans discussed;
- Comparison of the characteristics and contribution of civic societies of the WB in the context of European Integration and possible realization of the projects from IPA funds;
- Recommendations for enhancing of cooperation and communication between EU structures, governments and civic societies of the Western Balkans.