From 27 to 29 June 2018 members of parliaments from NATO member and partner countries along with government officials, representatives from NATO and other international organisations, as well as experts from universities, think tanks and NGOs, gathered in Skopje to exchange views and conduct a constructive dialogue on matters of regional interest, within the framework of the 98th Rose-Roth Seminar of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly.
Our Executive Director Ms. Zvezdana Kovac was among the civil society representatives that participated in the works of the Seminar, that focused on the “Euro-Atlantic Integration of the Western Balkans: Reinforcing the European Peace Project”. Ms. Kovac was among the speakers of the Session on Interethnic Relations in the Western Balkans, moderated by Maria Martens Chairperson of the Science and Technology Committee of the NATO PA, and composed of Ilija Dimovski, Head of the Delegation of the Assembly of the FYR of Macedonia to the NATO PA, Veton Latifi, Professor of the South-East European University and Henrik Bliddal, Seminar Director of NATO PA.
In her speech Ms Kovac gave her assessment on the current situation and the possible avenues towards strengthening reconciliation efforts in the Western Balkans, at a time when the region finds itself at a crossroads in many ways. “It is necessary to work on internal reconciliation, in order to be able to realise regional reconciliation”, she stated, further, stressing that it is only through multi-perspectival education, interethnic dialogue and critical thinking that the Balkan peoples will ever manage to throw off the shackles of ethnocentrism and past divisions.
The Seminar covered a full spectrum of internal and external challenges that the accession countries and the region as a whole face, including good neighbourly relations and stability in the Western Balkans, the role of disinformation and misinformation in public discourse as well as the migration crisis and the Balkan Route.