Foreign Policy Initiative BH, in cooperation with Faculty of Political Science of Sarajevo University organized the panel discussion “Challenges of the Enlargement Process and Regional Cooperation” on 17 March in Sarajevo. Event was organized in an effort to entice the debate on successes and challenges of the accession process of Western Balkan countries as well as the relevance of regional and bilateral diplomatic cooperation and the involvement of civil society organizations and academia in the process.
Members of the panel, Minister of European Affairs on Montenegro and Chief Negotiator, Aleksandar Andrija Pejović, Director of BiH Directorate for European Integrations, Edin Dilberović, Assistant Professor from Sarajevo Faculty of Political Science and FPI BH Director, Lejla Ramić-Mesihović presented activities for enhancement of regional cooperation and the significance of clearly defined goals and efforts in ensuring the stability and prosperity of the region. Economic development and regional cooperation are crucial in providing stability to the region and it is necessary to limit negative political influence which often hampers cooperation and retrogrades its effects.
During the discussion, panelist talked about the need for develop the spirit of confidence needed for the reaffirmation of EU enlargement despite the comprehensive context of instability of the Union and the need for a structured and efficient cooperation of institutions with civil society organizations, academia and media. Faced with limited capacities for the enlargement process, through close cooperation with non-governmental sector, academia and expert community, Montenegro managed to sustain the integration process and strengthened the work of the institutions and ensure the quality of the process. Participants also underlines the importance of cooperation with the media in order to spread positive news on progress with the reforms and that it is crucial present the process to the citizens in an understanding way which would ensure their interest and participation in the process.
Minister Pejović presented the course of Montenegro’s enlargement process and the ways in which they managed overcome obstacles and ensure undisturbed progress towards membership. As the Chief Negotiator for Montenegro, Minister Pejović highlighted the potential challenges BiH will face and solutions for overcoming them, pointing out the necessity of bilateral and multilateral cooperation within the region so as to provide for transfer of knowledge and good practices.
In order for Bosnia and Herzegovina to ensure positive momentum and be able to use all advantages of the pre-accession funds, it is necessary to adopt strategies and solve internal challenges and to have a clear vision of the path the country will take. DEI Director underlined that BiH needs to develop in this aspect and to use it as a comparative advantage. On several occasion, participants highlighted that compromise is inwrought in the core of development and functioning of the European Union and that it is necessary for everyone wanting to function within European structures.