The Slovenia Times

Heads of Western Balkan States Plus Hollande Meeting at Brdo


Nine heads of state, mostly from the area of the former Yugoslavia, will meet under the same roof, including Serbian president Tomislav Nikolić, Atifete Jahjaga of Kosovo, Montenegro's Filip Vujanović, Macedonia's Gjorge Ivanov, President of Bosnia-Herzegovina Željko Komšič and Aujar Nishani from Albania.

Also scheduled to take part in a meeting at the Brdo conference centre are foreign ministers from the region. Hosted by Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Ejravec, the meeting will also be attended by the head of French diplomacy Laurent Fabius.

The conference is meant to revive the Brdo Process, which was launched in January 2010 at an informal meeting of the then Slovenian and Croatian prime ministers, Pahor and Jadranka Kosor.

The main motive was to forge stronger ties among countries in the region and among other things encourage communication between Belgrade and Prishtina.

After the initiative appeared to have run out of steam, Pahor and Josipović decided to give it a fresh start, this time at the level of presidents, who would meet annually in different countries in the region and be joined by some of the leaders from major European countries.

Pahor has praised the initiative as not being outdated like some similar regional projects and as having extraordinary potential.

A key issue to be addressed at Thursday's summit is EU enlargement fatigue, which Pahor fears could undermine further European integration of countries in the region, reduce their readiness for reforms and to resolve open issues, and potentially lead to a dangerous rise of nationalism.

The EU's awareness of its important role in contributing to stability in the region is underlined by Holland's attendance.

The Brdo Process is also an opportunity for Slovenia to enhance its value and build a reputation in the EU, where there is a feeling that Slovenia can serve as a mediator in building relations with the Western Balkans, Pahor believes.

The countries that are part of the Brdo Process are at different stages of EU and NATO integration and many of them are struggling with poor policy making, corruption, poverty and ethnic tensions.

Along with relations between Serbia and Kosovo, the Macedonian-Greek dispute over Macedonia's name could prove an important topic of Thursday's meeting.

Pahor has repeatedly called on Skopje in recent days and weeks to put forward a concrete initiative to solve the name dispute, given that the status quo is increasingly undermining Macedonia's progress.

Also, Bosnia-Herzegovina should finally reach agreement on constitutional changes, which have been demanded by the EU for years and without which the country cannot apply for EU membership.


More from Nekategorizirano