SG Grk discussed Euro-Atlantic Perspective of the Western Balkans at Balkan SAYS 2018

BSF Secretary-General Mr Peter Grk participated in a panel discussion “Alternative Visions for the Western Balkans: Challenges to the Euro-Atlantic Perspective?” in the framework of the 2018 edition of Balkan SAYS – Security Architecture Youth Seminar in Ljubljana, Slovenia last week. Mr Grk contributed his views on the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans alongside former Ambassador Mirko Cigler, Mr Gorazd Bartol from the Slovenian Armed Forces and Ms Bojana Jovanoska, Charge d’Affairs at the Embassy of the Republic of Macedonia. The discussion was moderated by Ms Nina Pejič from the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ljubljana.

The Western Balkans has come a long way, overcoming the difficult legacy of the past and NATO and the European Union have played a prominent role in supporting these post-conflict developments and the economic transition, while at the same time facilitating the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans. Yet, six countries remain outside the EU, while only four of them remain outside NATO: Slovenia, Croatia and Albania were joined by Montenegro recently, while Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia will join the Alliance once the name issue with Greece is solved.

Mr Grk strongly emphasized that the role of Euro-Atlantic community is crucial for the future of the Western Balkans and that the alternatives, such as Russian Federation, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and China, do not represent sustainable, reasonable or comprehensive partners for the region. He expressed his view that socio-economic development is of great importance for the population in the region, with particular emphasis on the young generations, who are crucial for the future development. Brain drain should be prevented and reversed in order to contribute to the reforms that the countries need.

Euro-Atlantic Council of Slovenia, the organizer of the Balkan SAYS seminar, has been an important partner of this years Young Bled Strategic Forum and the Centre for European Perspective.

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