Conferences and Public Debates
Conference"Enlargement in perspective: how do candidate and potential candidate countries perceive accession in the light of the current crisis?"
March 6, 2013
International Conference “Co-operation of the National Parliaments and Independent Regulatory Bodies in SEE”
April 3-4, 2012
The Ljubljana Agenda for the New Phase of the Stabilization and Association Process
The European Movement in Serbia and the Belgrade-based office of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation organized the International Conference "Ljubljana Agenda for the New Phase of the Stabilization and Association Process" between May 30 and 31, 2008. The Conference, held in the Belgrade Sava center, was a follow-up of earlier regional activities focused on assuring additional incentive in the region in the process of EU enlargement.
The major purpose of the Conference was to finalize the preparation of a platform for the Slovenian presidency that would enable the EU to offer the region a clear path on its way to the EU and concrete supportive measures to consolidate the results achieved up to that moment. The outcome of the earlier events, national and regional debates held in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Macedonia, were presented at the Conference.
The Conference gathered together international and regional officials, political representatives and experts who debated with NGO representatives about the following topics: “EU Reform Treaty: Is the EU ready for a new round of Enlargement?”, “Are the Western Balkan Countries ready for the EU - Where are we now?”, “Regional cooperation and EU integration - regional ownership”, “the Role of the CS in the EU Integration process: Is Civil Society recognized as a relevant partner in the EU integration process?” and “Proposals for a new phase in SAP”.
The Conference proceedings were published on a CD and distributed to 150 participants.
Vision of the European Serbia
Although the EU has been repeatedly confirming its commitment to the Western Balkans’ and Serbia’s ‘European perspective’, global development and internal challenges the EU is facing, seem to have shifted attention away from the region. 2009 was an important year in maintaining an affirmative enlargement policy on the agenda and sustaining momentum in the WB countries where support for the EU integration process was decreasing.
Although Serbia has been facing significant economic challenges, the threat of increasing unemployment, poverty and debt and recession seeming dangerously close, Serbia's European integration process has not stopped but needs to be strengthened.
The main goals of the Conference were to assess the current situation and existing achievements and challenges, examine regional and EU mechanisms and concrete supportive measures and present a framework for faster integration and development. Particular attention was given to experience from Central European countries and the challenges they faced in the process of EU integrations. Models of solidarity and cooperation were analyzed and their applicability to the region of the Western Balkans.
The Conference was organized in three panels and each addressed some of the challenges and aspects of European integration in Serbia and the region: the European Perspective of the Western Balkans; Serbia and the EU: Achievements and Challenges; Economic Integration and Lessons Learned from European Integration.
The International Conference gathered together over 200 participants and numerous experts - guest speakers from the EU and the Western Balkans, including Serbia.
The Conference was supported by the Embassy of the United States in Belgrade.
Sectoral Integration of the Western Balkans in the European Union: Trade, Energy and Transport
The regional Convention on “Sectoral Integration of the Western Balkan in the European Union: Trade, Energy and Transport” aimed to recognize the strategic goals of the Western Balkan countries within the context of the EU integration process and to engage the capacities for overall development of these societies in overcoming the financial and economical crisis and its devastating consequences. The Conference was focused on trade (CEFTA), energy and transport, the areas of cooperation among the Western Balkans countries where significant results have already been achieved. The goal of the conference was to inform the expert and wider public about the impacts of sectoral integration on the everyday life of citizens (benefits and risks), emphasize the importance of regional cooperation and sectoral integration for the economic and social development of the region, assess the CEFTA and Energy Community treaty implementation (problems and challenges) and raise awareness on the importance of establishing a Transport Community.
The three conference panels on trade (CEFTA), energy and transport assessed the improvements obtained and the challenges facing Serbia and the whole region. Special focus was put on the implementation of the SAA, legal harmonization, the social dimension and parliamentarian regional cooperation.
The Conference gathered together representative from the business community, think tanks and NGOs from the region, national administrations, MPs from the national parliaments, representatives of civil society in Serbia, the academic community, social partners, chambers of commerce and media.
The project was implemented in cooperation with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, and supported by the Fridrich Ebert Foundation.
The Danube – The Strongest Link to the European Union
The main goal behind the organization of an international conference on this topic was to include the important, comprehensive contribution of civil society to the process of Danube Strategy development. The main focus of the conference was to inform experts and the public about the Danube Strategy in general, its risks and advantages, and to open a broader discussion on the Danube and the assessment of the future EU policy on the Danube.
As a civil society organization, the European Movement in Serbia gave its contribution in a new, comprehensive approach to the topic in question, by including the neglected sectors – transport and culture, and inviting guests from abroad – representatives of the EU member states and Serbia's neighbors. Work on the development of the Strategy provided a unique opportunity to encourage the Serbian public in general as well as the scientific, expert, political and business circles to analyze all the relevant developmental issues and the numerous potentials of the Danube.
The International conference “The Danube: The Strongest Link to the European Union” brought together more than 250 participants from 10 countries, an indication of good will towards overcoming communication gaps among different, but relevant actors and subjects, including the communication gap between civil society organization from the EU and their Western Balkan counterparts. The Conference was attended by representatives of the business community, think tanks and NGOs from the region, national administrations, MPs from the national parliaments, representatives of civil society organization in Serbia, the academic community, social partners, chambers of commerce and media. The Conference was articulated in three panels: the Danube Strategy, Economy and Transportation, and Tourism Ecology and Culture.
The recommendations and concluding remarks were widely distributed, while the project was implemented in cooperation with Serbian Chamber of Commerce, and supported by the Fridrich Ebert Foundation.
Panel Discussion “Is a New Gas Crisis Approaching?”
Soon after the gas crisis that occurred at the beginning of 2009, the European Movement in Serbia gathered energy and natural gas experts from Serbia and the region at a panel discussion entitled “Is a New Gas Crisis Approaching”. The debate, supported by the European Fund for the Balkans and organized in October 2009, aimed at promptly informing the public about the gas supply situation and sharing both the domestic and the international points of view on the issue in question.
The main objective of the panel discussion was to inform the public about the need to monitor the situation adequately, adjust energy policy and present proposals for short-term and medium-term mitigation of possible negative consequences.
The Research, carried out before the conference, confirmed the urgent need to organize such a panel discussion, bearing in mind the experience from the previous year and the winter that followed.
Presentations from experts and representatives of the relevant Serbian Ministries on the possible impacts of a new gas crisis on everyday life received great media coverage. The speakers tackled some of the issues that had been neglected in the debate within Serbia. The conference also gave an up-to-date summary of the current situation in the gas sector. The conclusions and the conference recommendations, now available on the EMinS web site, were distributed to politicians and the general public. Serbia's integration into the EU and its membership of the Energy Community are recognized as key issues in solving this problem.