“Investments in the Western Balkans should be in line with EU standards, and the situation in the region requires greater transparency in these activities,” said Krisela Hakaj at the opening of an online conference organized by the European Movement in Serbia and the Cooperation and Development Institute from Albania, “Economic and Investment Plan Flagship Projects and Role of the Civil Society”.

Participants in the debate focused on the state of the leading projects, the factors that support and hinder the implementation, but also highlight the contribution of non-governmental organizations in the Western Balkans and their successful implementation.

The conference was opened by Krisela Hakaj, Executive Director of the Cooperation and Development Institute, Jelica Minić, President of the European Movement in Serbia, Gussje Korthales Altes, Ambassador of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Albania and Norbert Beckmann Dierkes, Director of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation Office for Serbia and Montenegro.

The participants agreed that it is important to point out the ways of applying the rule of law in infrastructure projects and that it is necessary to maintain “constructive pressure” on institutions and decision makers in the implementation of the investment agenda. One of the conclusions is that we as a society must continue to “dig deeper” despite the lack of transparency and that the implementation of investment projects can be improved with the help of think tanks and civil society organizations. Also, it is important to work on combating corruption that hinders investments.

The first panel Flagship Projects in Energy, Transport, Green Agenda and Digital: State of Affairs and Challenges was attended by: Pranvera Kastrati, Senior Expert on Economic and Digital Connectivity from the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), Mirza Kušljugic, Head of board Center for Sustainable Energy Transition  (RESET) from Sarajevo, Matej Zakonjšek, Programme Director of the Transport Community Treaty Permanent Secretariat and Aleksandar Macura, Programme Director of the RES Foundation, while the panel was moderated by Jelica Minić, Director of the European Movement in Serbia.

At the second panel on Project Governance during Connectivity Agenda Implementation, and role od CSO, was attended by: Ana Kristinovska, President of ESTIMA from Skopje, Marko Sošić, Researcher at Institute Alternativa from Montenegro, Michael Voegele, Head of the Sector of WBIF (DG NEAR) and Ardian Hackaj, Coordinator of Tirana Connectivity Forum, while the panel was moderated by Albana Rexha, a Senior Policy Analyst from Democracy Plus.

You can watch the whole event on the link here.

The conference, organized by the European Movement in Serbia and the Cooperation and Development Institute in Tirana, was held in a “hybrid” format in Belgrade and Tirana. The event was co-financed as part of the project “Preparing and Supporting Albania for the EU Accession Process” with the support of the Embassy of the Netherlands in Albania and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Belgrade.