Transferring the Experiences of Visegrad Cooperation to the Western Balkans and the GUAM Countries
The general goal of the project is to contribute to strengthening the basis of democracy, partnership and regional cooperation in two of the regions situated at the external border of the EU. The specific objective is to transfer the experiences of Visegrad cooperation to the Western Balkans and the GUAM countries to encourage cooperation in and among these regions on achieving common goals and resolving common problems.
The countries in the target regions are going through a complex and difficult period of political, social and economic reforms. Countries in the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Kosovo under UNSC 1244; also referred to as members of the EU's Stabilization and Association Process-the SAP) have common strategic objectives, like EU and NATO integration, and these countries can put targeted assistance in building institutionalized cooperation to great use in achieving them. The GUAM countries (Georgia, the Ukraine, Azerbaijan, and Moldova) started institutional cooperation under the aegis of the GUAM Organization for Democracy and Economic Development, but this framework has yet to reach its full potential. It is in the common European interest that these countries go through with necessary reforms and become stable and economically progressive democracies, since their problems affect the common market and have security policy implications as well. Accordingly, these objectives are also reflected in the EU's Neighbourhood Policy.
The target groups of the project are governmental institutions involved in cooperation, regional structures such as the Regional Cooperation Council and the GUAM Secretariat, NGOs, economic chambers and actors, media and political decision-makers from the target regions, as well as international institutions and organizations and Member States of the EU. The main activities of the project focus on the organization of 4 regional workshops in Skopje, Sarajevo, Tbilisi and Kiev with the participation of relevant stakeholders from the target regions, as well as that of a preparatory meeting and a final conference where representatives of the EU, international organizations, etc. will also be invited. In parallel, activities to assure project publicity will be conducted. The main outcomes will be as follows: a preparatory study and one final study that will be prepared based on the thematic assessments containing the summary of proceedings and lessons learned during the workshops and will contain conclusions and case studies. Other results will be a web page, a publication based on the final study and 2 press conferences. Workshops will be built around key topics: 1) intergovernmental regional cooperation and regional security; 2) inter- and intraregional cooperation at the civil society level and the issues and challenges of European integration; 3) economic cooperation with special regards to energy, infrastructure, free trade and business partnerships; 4) cross-border cooperation. Each workshop will be organized with the participation of experts and representatives from all target countries so as to assure the potential for synergies emerging from interregional cooperation.
Norwegian-EEA Financial Mechanisms
International Centre for Democratic Transition (ICDT)