As the countries of the Western Balkan region prepare to fulfil the criteria for EU accession, the issues relating to reconciliation and good neighbourly relations and resolving bilateral disputes remain as seemingly insurmountable obstacles. A weak judiciary combined with reluctance to address the open wounds and handling of war crimes from the 1990s in some of the countries is fuelling the enduring deep mistrust in society. Yet Truth and Reconciliation remain essential to ensure a sustainable democratic process and lasting stability in the region.
Meanwhile numerous bilateral disputes continue to cast a shadow over the entire region. The EU has insisted that it will not import bilateral disputes and that they must be resolved by the parties concerned prior to accession. It has underlined that reconciliation, good neighbourly relations and regional cooperation are prerequisites for accession.
Are the various initiatives put forward sufficient to deal with these issues ? What more can be done by both the countries of the region and by the EU to ensure that they can be resolved in a satisfactory manner prior to accession ?
Registration and coffee from 10.30 – Meeting from 11.00 to 12.30