Reflection Forum Initiative
“Encouraging a European dialogue amongst think tanks and academic institutions on the Western Balkans.”
In 2014, in the wake of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War, the Federal Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, initiated an intergovernmental process with the countries of the Western Balkans (the so-called Berlin Process). Its aim is to improve cooperation throughout the region, put “fundamentals first”, and thereby reinvigorate European integration. The first conference, organised in Berlin, was followed by a second one in Vienna in 2015 and a third one in Paris in 2016. A fourth conference will be convened by Italy in 2017, before the process expectedly ends one year later, in 2018, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the end of WWI.
In order to encourage a European dialogue amongst think tanks and academic institutions on the Western Balkans and their European perspective, the CIFE, CFA, IAI and IFRI, together with other institutions, including CEP, launched in 2015 an initiative that culminated with the organisation of a “reflection forum” on the Western Balkans in May 2016 in Paris. This first reflection forum addressed some of the topical challenges the EU and Western Balkan countries face, from socio-economic convergence or migration security to democratisation or geopolitics.
The process of reflection and think tank mobilisation continues throughout 2017 with a high-level reflection conference, organised under the patronage of the Italian MFA in June 2017, in the run-up to the intergovernmental conference on the Western Balkans hosted by Italy in July 2017.
IN COOPERATION WITH
Reflection forum is organised and supported by Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE), Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe (CFA), French Institute for International Relations (Ifri), Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP), Austrian Institute for International Politics (Oiip), European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory (BiEPAG), Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso (OBC), Central European Initiative (CEI), Regione Autonoma Friuli Venezia Giulia, MIB Trieste School of Management, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Italy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of France, Federal Ministry for European, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Friedrich-Ebert Foundation (FES), and Centre for European Perspective (CEP).