Western Balkans Civil Society Forum begins in Skopje on Sunday
Following the main edition of this year’s Civil Society Forum of the Western Balkans Summit Series that took place in London in July, an interim edition of the Forum will be held in Skopje between 7 and 9 October.
This will be the second time Macedonia’s capital is a host of such an event, the first time being in 2016. The Forum, organized by the European Fund for the Balkans and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, is envisaged as a platform through which the Western Balkans civil society provides input in the Berlin Process, by elaboration of regionally relevant issues and policies, and by monitoring of progress in realisation of the Process goals and initiatives.
It was confirmed this year that Berlin Process, a 2014 initiative of German government aimed to gather political leaders of the Western Balkan countries once a year, will be continued in the Polish city of Poznan in 2019. The decision to hold an interim meeting of the region’s civil society in a country that is currently in focus when it comes to the Balkans is therefore more than justified.
The title of this edition of the Forum will be Civil Society Engagement in the Berlin Process Revisited, and it will consist of panel discussions, workshops and one-on-one debates. Some of the topics covered by the events will be bilateral disputes, activism vs consultancy and European perspective of the region.
At the beginning of the event, a short film retrospecting on the each of the previous Berlin Process Summits (in Berlin, Vienna, Paris, Trieste and London) will be shown, following by welcome addresses by Eva Ellereit from Friedrich Ebert Stieftung and Igor Bandović from European Fund for the Balkans.
Potential participation of high Macedonian officials, including Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, as well as Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikola Dimitrov, was announced.