The research is an initiative of the Balkan Forum, on behalf of the Civil Society Platform for Democracy and Human Rights (CSP). The platform is an independently organised regional consortium of 35 civil society actors in the six countries of the Western Balkans, working across borders and sectors, in support of each other and government, to co-develop the region united by a shared desire for peace and stability. The research is one of the actions taken within the network’s pledge to conduct ongoing assessments and evaluation of progress made by the Western Balkans (WB) countries towards implementing their commitments since the WB Summits in London and Poznań held in 2018 and 2019, as part of the Berlin Process launched in 2014. It aims to map good practices, but also challenges and existing gaps, and use lessons learnt as a basis for the creation of new strategies and mechanisms, as foreseen by the Berlin Process Summit Recommendations.
Findings point to the direction that despite existing challenges and gaps, the Berlin Process as a whole has had a considerable positive impact on the Region. It has managed to redirect the focus of the EU back on the Western Balkans Six (WB6) countries and start a high-level dialogue on equal terms between EU-WB6 leaders, reviving the region’s declining interest in EU integration. It has placed the Region on a stable position on the EU infrastructure map, united the regional civil society under joint causes, and highlighted the role of citizens and youth in promoting dialogue and social change. It has also brought the issue of reconciliation and transitional justice back on the table, raising it as a matter not only of regional but also international importance, as emphasised within the proceedings of the 2020 Zagreb Summit.
Overall, since the London Summit in 2018, the WB6 countries have been taking small, yet positive steps towards the implementation of their pledges defined in the chairs’ conclusions and Summits’ declarations. Evidence shows, however, that specific factors are slowing down or discouraging progress.
For more on the findings and recommendations, please find the web version below: