STATE OF REGIONAL COOPERATION IN THE CONTEXT OF CURRENT WB INITIATIVES
– Index of Regional Cooperation and Open Balkans –
Belgrade, May 30, 2022
The topic of the 30th jubilee session of the Igman Initiative, which was held on May 30, 2022 at the Media Center in Belgrade, was the STATE OF REGIONAL COOPERATION IN THE CONTEXT OF CURRENT WB INITIATIVES. The session was opened by Aleksandar Popov, President of the Council of the Igman Initiative for Serbia, who reminded the participants of the previous 29 sessions held during the 22 years of the Igman Initiative’s existence, which is the oldest regional network of civil society organizations in the Western Balkans. During these 22 years, the Igman Initiative worked to enhance regional cooperation and restore understanding and trust between the states and people of the four countries of the Dayton Accords.
Continuing this practice, two expert reports were presented at the 30th session – the Index of Regional Cooperation of Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro for 2021 and part of 2022 by Milan Antonijevic, as well as the report on regional integration “Open Balkans” by author Dragan Djukanovic.
Miodrag Milosavljevic, Director of the Open Society Foundation, and Aleksandra Tomanic, Director of the European Fund for the Balkans, spoke at the opening of the session. On this occasion, they emphasized the role of the Igman Initiative in the normalization of relations between the Dayton Four countries, as well as the importance of expert reports that will be presented at the session for an objective review of the situation in the region and relations between the four countries.
Mateja Norcic Stamcar, Deputy Head of the Delegation of the European Union to Serbia, also took part in the session. Ms Stamcar pointed out that the situation in the Western Balkans region is complex and that the EU’s attention is focused on improving relations between the countries in the region, which is especially important in the context of Russia’s aggression on Ukraine.
Members of the Igman Initiative, professor Nerzuk Curak, and diplomat and journalist Zlatko Dizdarevic also joined the session through the Zoom platform. Speaking about the Open Balkans initiative, they assessed that the countries that have not yet joined this integration are under pressure to join it. However, the biggest problem is that due to the large-scale projects of Albania and Serbia, there is no trust that its potential members will be in an equal position. These two countries, primarily Serbia, should work on improving relations with the countries they are counting on to enter the Open Balkans, in order to eliminate the causes of this mistrust.
At the end of the 30th jubilee session, the participants were addressed by the co-presidents of the Igman Initiative – Zoran Pusic, for Croatia, Branislav Radulovic for Montenegro and Vehid Sehic for Bosnia and Herzegovina.