• 2020-12-21

Nataša Vučković: The political elites of the Balkans are not doing enough to promote reconciliation and trust building in the region

On 21 December 2020, the Regional Forum Remembrance and Intercultural Dialogue was organised in collaboration with ALDA (European Association for Local Democracy), CEI (Central European Initiative), WBFG (Western Balkans Fund), and the Balkan Network for Local Democracy. The Executive Director of the Center for Democracy, Nataša Vučković, along with Antonella Valmorbida, Secretary General of ALDA and Ugo Poli from the Central European Initiative all spoke at the opening of the Forum.

In addressing Forum participants, Vučković emphasised that reconciliation and trust building is a necessity in the Balkans toward creating a safe and stable regional environment. “It is necessary that we resolve the remaining consequences of the conflict, and above all, find the answers to the issues surrounding the fates of missing, refugees and displaced persons, as well as to allow justice to play its part in terms of war crimes.” Vučković highlighted the importance of the EU integration process for all regional countries, but also posed the question: Do the political elites truly want to implement reforms that will bring us closer to the EU, considering that these reforms will force greater transparency, the separation of powers and the creation of strong, corruption-free institutions. We should be fighting for reconciliation and trust at the political level, but also at the social, through an education system that will lead to better interpersonal relations within the region through cultural collaboration and through civil society. Likewise, we must not underestimate the enormous potential of the media which can contribute to creating a different climate and help create a new regional narrative, among other things. “The history that we share is both vast and positive, and these good memories must be the foundation toward rebuilding trust,” said Vučković. “Younger generations learn about the past from us, and our generation is responsible for how they will communicate with each other in future.”

REGIONAL FORUM “Remembrance and intercultural dialogue” (Programme)

Center for Democracy Foundation