European Movement in Serbia (EMinS) Secretary General Suzana Grubješić said on December 4 that the current bilateral disputes in the region of the Western Balkans were proof that bilateral cooperation was not on par with regional multilateral cooperation.

Opening a conference called The Dynamics of Regional Cooperation and Bilateral Relations in the Western Balkans, in Belgrade, Grubješić warned that the flames of ethnic nationalism could be reignited in the region.

“The Western Balkan region needs the support and guidance of the EU the most, but we should also ask ourselves how devoted the region is to EU integration,” Grubješić said.

Friedrich Ebert Foundation director in Belgrade Max Brandle stressed that regional cooperation and improving bilateral relations were an important step in the European integration of the Western Balkans.

The participants of the conference also discussed obstacles and possibilities in bilateral relations, as well as whether the general context was favorable for a new dynamic.

The purpose of the conference was to take into consideration two parallel processes – bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the region and point out the possibilities and modalities for their further improvement.

Existing bilateral issues, which are mostly the legacy of the conflicts of the 1990s, make the stabilization of political relations in the region more difficult and also reduce the efficiency of regional initiatives in certain areas.

German MP Josip Juratović, director of the Tirana Institute for Cooperation and Development Krisela Hachaj, EMinS Forum for International Relations President Jelica Minić, Italian Institute for International Relations researcher Matteo Bonomi and Center for Foreign Policy President Dragan Đukanović participated in the conference.