On the 15th of May, the participants of the regional "POLITEIA Western Balkans School for Youth Participation" had the opportunity to participate in the lecture and discussion on the topic "Democracy and its enemies: can EU help Western Balkans."
The lecture to the participants of the Politeia School was held by Prof. Dr. Vesna Pusić (former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Government of the Republic of Croatia). Introduction was given by Natasa Vučković, Executive Director of the Center for Democracy Foundation.
Prof. Dr. Vesna Pusić emphasized that the changes that have taken place since 2001 until today are extremely important when it comes to the well-being of the region. The European Union - that's us, that's our project. The countries of our region have nowhere else to go - they are in Europe. That is the only direction in which the countries of the Western Balkans can go. For these countries, the EU is more important than any other external partner.
She pointed out that there are three lessons that can be learned from the Croatian accession experience. The first would be that Croatia is much better today than in 2001, when it started the negotiation process, which refers to the stability of institutions, institutional infrastructure, human freedoms and other areas.
The second lesson is about the importance of timing, all joining strategies should be adapted to the circumstances, i.e. the time and context in which the negotiations take place. The third lesson, she says that we should choose the leadership that is good for achieving the goal of joining the EU. It is also necessary to find good partners inside of EU.
The next important item is European values - rule of law, inclusiveness, human rights, negative attitude towards discrimination…
It is important for the countries of the region to understand that they must go through a transformation process before joining the EU. However, the condition for accession cannot be for the countries of the Western Balkans to solve all their problems and become ideal states, before they join the EU. That simply will not happen, and even many countries within the EU have unresolved problems of a similar type.
Prof. Dr. Vesna Pusić concluded that all countries in the region should join the European Union.
This activity is organized in the framework of the proejct "Regional Youth Compact for Europe" supported financially by the European Union with co-financing from the Balkan Trust for Democracy.