The CEELI Institute Partners with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs
In September 2022, the CEELI Institute was delighted to partner with the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and the international conference Forum 2000 to organize a two-day roundtable with civil society actors from across the Western Balkans, focusing on reconciliation and the challenges of European integration. These topics are high on the MFA’s priority list during the current Czech presidency of the Council of the European Union.
The roundtable, held both at the Villa Grébovka and at the MFA, provided a stage for representatives of civil society and non-governmental organizations, as well as independent journalists, authors, academics, human rights activists, and artists. All are determined to support the formation of open, modern, and future-oriented societies in the European context, through the process of reconciliation among nations of the region.
Divisions and fault lines in the Western Balkans have once again widened following the Russian aggression against Ukraine. Countries in the region have also been disappointed by the EU’s lack of attention and support in facilitating accession efforts in the past years. Over the two-day meeting, the civil society representatives thus worked together to identify main challenges and to formulate them into a unified message to the region’s political leaders. The resulting recommendations focus on reconciliation efforts, including necessary changes of approach both to calm current rhetoric, which has dangerously escalated, and to build more resilient and accountable state institutions and a strong relationship with the EU. The recommendations are available on the Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.