Minister Bushati discusses the Berlin Process with civil society organizations from countries of the region

Minister of Foreign Affairs Ditmir Bushati took part in the working session of the Civil Society Forum under the Berlin Process, which is being held in Tirana on the 26-28 of April 2017, with the support of ERSTE Stiftung, European Fund for the Balkans, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, SOE Dialogue Southeast Europe, in cooperation with CDI (Cooperation Development Institute).

Civil Society Forum, which is an important initiative within the Berlin Process, summons over 100 participants from countries of the region and the European Union, aiming thus to foster dialogue between citizens and decision-makers, as well as enhancing cooperation between the civil society organizations of the Western Balkan countries.

The Forum began its work with the evaluation and presentation of the so far results of the Berlin Process, and will continue the discussion on important issues of regional cooperation, such as youth co-operation in the Western Balkan countries, rule of law and the fight against corruption, regional bilateral issues, to conclude with the presentation of the recommendations to be presented in Trieste Summit.

In his speech Minister of Foreign Affairs Ditmir Bushati voiced that “The Berlin Process has the potential to deliver a vision of long-term strategic development for the region that goes beyond our political mandate”, pointing out “efforts on improving the climate of political dialogue in the region” and the fact that “one of the important components of this process is the human dimension – human contacts and relations”.

He also focused on Albania’s role as one of the key actors of regional cooperation stating that “This political commitment is materialized in concrete projects and initiatives. In Tirana are the headquarters of two regional initiatives: that of the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO) and the Western Balkan Fund (WBF). Those familiar with these two organizations know very well how much energy and sustained efforts we have invested in order to make these organizations fully functional. In these troubled times it is not enough to fight against stereotypes and hate speech. That is why it is important to strengthen regional civil society and engage in youth projects able to promote democratic values, rule of law and human rights”.

“The Berlin Process, underscored Minister Bushati, is not simply a regional development plan. It is also the blueprint of our path toward European integration”.

The Forum’s conclusions and recommendations shall be presented to the heads of states and governments that will attend the Trieste Summit on the 12th of July 2017. This meeting marks a very important step in strengthening civil society in the Western Balkans, through its involvement in regional decision-making.

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