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Session 1: Overcoming the Gaps in Security Cooperation in the Western Balkans

Is regional cooperation possible without the mediation of the international organizations? What is the role and position of diplomacy and diplomats in the regional cooperation? Should these these processes be more transparent?

Since all Western Balkan countries aim to become EU members and some of them NATO members as well, they are subjected to the same rules and conditions for admittance, and therefore are driven to a closer collaboration. Along with optimistic views of regional cooperation functioning without any external incentive, pessimistic voices could be heard about difficulties of overcoming domestic problems.

The cooperation is best developed in the area of suppressing organized crime, which is the field most visible to the ordinary people. It was also agreed that there could be more regional cooperation in coping with natural disasters. Apart from that, the regional cooperation between the militaries is seen as full of possibilities (due to the similarity of the army structure in general, and especially within the region), in contrast to the intelligence services with which this is not the case. More attention should be paid to the media and civil society organizations, as they have a major influence on shaping the public opinion.

Diplomacy is seen as a missing element in the regional cooperation. Today regional cooperation is asymmetrical in a way – some countries make both multilateral and bilateral agreements while others remain satisfied with just multilateral agreements. Some bilateral issues are easier to deal within a multilateral framework, as the success of Belgrade and Pristina talks demonstrated.

The participants of this session were from the Western Balkans countries, involved in the collaborative research projects “Security Transitions in Western Balkans: from Conflict Zone to Security Community” and “Security research Forum ‘Belgrade – Pristina – Tirana”.

  • Arjan Dyrmishi‚ Head of the European and Security Affairs Department, Institute for Democracy and Mediation, Tirana
  • Florian Qehaja‚ Executive Director of Kosovar Centre for Security Studies in Pristina
  • Kenan Dautovic‚ Associate Professor on the Faculty of Political Sciences in Sarajevo
  • Dzenita Brcvak‚ Research Fellow in the Centre for Democracy and Human Rights in Podgorica
  • Sonja Stojanović Gajić‚  Director of Belgrade Centre for Security Policy in Belgrade
  • Jelica Minić‚ former Deputy RCC Secretary General/Head of Expert Pool (Moderator)