“Serbia and Albania – Preparing for a New Start” – public debate on ISAC Fund’s policy paper on EurActiv.rs

ISAC Fund invites all interested parties to engage in the public debate on the policy paper – “Serbia and Albania – Preparing for a New Start”. This document, which contains a set of recommendations for the improvement of relations between Serbia and Albania, is available on the EurActiv Serbia website.

Serbs and Albanians are the two largest ethnic groups in the Western Balkans – hence good neighborly relations between Serbia and Albania could help resolve many open issues, improve regional cooperation and quicken the progress of the region towards the European Union.

Towards the end of 2010, ISAC Fund organized, with the kind support of the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the first direct talks between political scientists, civil society activists and politicians from Serbia and Albania. The conclusion of those meetings, held in Belgrade and Tirana, was that the most pertinent obstacles to better relations between the two states were the lack of information among the general public, as well as the indifference and unwillingness of political elites to promote mutual communication and cooperation. The participants agreed on the importance of strategic cooperation in areas such as transport and energy. Furthermore, they highlighted many other areas in which progress is feasible. In addition, joint lobbying in Brussels and the exchange of know-how could improve the current individual efforts of both states to accelerate their progress on the way to the European Union.

The contents of these talks, along with the results of the research conducted by the ISAC Fund, were assembled in the policy paper containing a set of recommendations for a new beginning of the Serbia-Albania relations. ISAC Fund would like to learn the public opinion about the proposal and therefore hopes that the readers of Euroactiv.rs website will express their views by the end of summer 2011. This will allow us to determine the extent to which suggestions of the experts match the public opinion and what improvements to the policy proposal are necessary.

The policy paper is in English, as it was the official language of the talks in Belgrade and Tirana. This publication will soon be published in the Serbian and Albanian languages.