4 May 2018 – The Balkan Policy Research Group (BPRG) in cooperation with Democracy for Development (D4D) and Kosovo Center for Security Studies (KCSS) held a high level conference on ‘Kosovo’s Future Decade: Advancing Reforms, Regional Co-operation and European Integration’. The focus of the conference was the advancement of Kosovo’s state-building: strengthening of institutions and speeding up reforms, the EU Enlargement Strategy: the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans and the dialogue with Serbia towards the final agreement. This event launched the Think-Tankers Policy Forum (BPRG, D4D, KCSS) – a new platform for civil society to join forces in accelerating much needed reforms in Kosovo.
Naim Rashiti, Executive Director of Balkans Policy Research Group, in his opening speech, highlighted that the think-tankers policy forum platform that will advocate and support state-building, reform-making, regional cooperation and European integration processes. These elements present the mission of the forum.
Hashim Thaçi, The President of the Republic of Kosovo, in his speech declared that the title of the conference is very substantial and essential which has two important sides and at the same time is extremely necessary and inevitable for Kosovo’s political future. He expressed confidence that the coming weeks and months would be decisive in many aspects including consolidating and strengthening the state of Kosovo. President Thaçi thanked civil society for the support that it is giving to important processes for Kosovo.
Norwegian Ambassador, Per Strand Sjaastad, asserted during his speech that Kosovo should conclude the transition chapter in the next decade, and strive to build a common vision for the future. Successful addressing of relations with Serbia and fighting corruption will pave the way in all sectors, he stated.
The conference was divided into three panels. The first panel discussed the EU Enlargement Strategy and the importance of the Berlin Process for the Western Balkans. Included in the panel were, local and regional ministers, deputy prime ministers ambassadors and diplomatic representatives in Kosovo. During the discussion, panelists agreed that regional cooperation among the Western Balkans states is vital for European Integration. The importance of reforms in the socio-economic development of aspirant countries was also highlighted.
The second panel, comprised of members of the Kosovo Serbia Policy Advocacy Group (KSPAG), a consortium of eight likeminded NGOs from Kosovo and Serbia, discussed the dialogue on the normalization of relations towards the final agreement. This panel discussion emphasised that the European Union Strategy for the Western Balkans could serve as a stimulating point for two governments to be involved in the new phase of dialogue, which should be concluded with a legally binding agreement.
Present in the third panel with the topic “Projecting Kosovo’s next decade: What milestones to expect?” were the Prime Minister, Assembly Speaker and high level officials from political parties. This panel agreed that the second decade should find Kosovo integrated in the European Union, part of the UN, and as well a conclusion with Serbia. They also stated that the key to overcome great challenges is broad political consensus.
Civil society organisations and other participants at this event had the opportunity to interact with members of the panels and give their comments on the topics addressed. This conference served as a platform for encouraging and deepening the debate on topics requiring national consensus. The Think-Tankers Policy Forum is supported by the **Royal Norwegian Embassy** and **Democratic Society Promotion (DSP) – financed by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark (DANIDA) managed by the Kosovo Civil Society Foundation (KCSF).**