Today, on July 21, 2022, Kosovo Center for Security Studies (KCSS) organized the closing conference of the Western Balkan Security Barometer (WBSB) discussing the perceptions of the citizens of Kosovo, Serbia, and Albania on regional cooperation and bilateral relations in Western Balkans.
After the presentation of the WBSB findings, the conference was followed by a panel discussion composed as follows:
• Mentor Vrajolli, Executive Director, Kosovo Center for Security Studies
• Arjan Dyrmishi, Executive Director, Center for the Study of Democracy and Governance
• Igor Bandovic, Director, Belgrade Center for Security Policy
• Jeton Zulfaj, Political Advisor to the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Mr. Albin Kurti
• Milica Andric- Rakic, Project Manager, New Social Initiative
• Ardit Orana, Researcher, Kosovo Center for Security Studies
In the framework of the panel discussion, the panelists expressed the need for increased regional cooperation in the Western Balkans. The conference discussed the importance of an increase in the representation of Kosovo in regional initiatives and the need for more constructive dialogue in the process of normalizing relations between Kosovo and Serbia. The participants in the conference described the findings of the WBSB as necessary to be taken into account by the Government in decision-making processes.
Moreover, during the panel discussions, it was noted that the extension of the accession process of the Western Balkan states to the EU is creating space for the negative influence of other powers in the region. The panelists expressed that the countries of the Western Balkans should use regional cooperation as a transformative mechanism to support bilateral relations between them.
Finally, the need to advance the rights of non-majority communities in Kosovo and Serbia, better inter-institutional cooperation, and wider involvement of civil society in promoting regional cooperation were seen as highly important for the development of the region.
This activity was organized within the "Security Barometer of the Western Balkans" project. WBSB serves as an instrument to measure the perceptions of the citizens of Albania, Kosovo, and Serbia on various issues related to security, rule of law, justice, regional cooperation, and peacebuilding. This regional project is led by KCSS with the financial support of the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).