The Political Youth Network kicked off the new year with a really fascinating online event! The topic of the webinar ‘Let’s talk about what is new in the Western Balkans’ held on January 16, 2023 was one that young, politically engaged individuals from the Western Balkans and other European nations (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, France, Hungary, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Serbia, Slovenia) found to be significant and wanted to learn more about as well as discuss about it with their peers from various political organizations and civic associations. Adnan Ćerimagić, a guest lecturer who specializes in the Western Balkans and EU policy in that region, began the webinar by asking the participants to name the most relevant political events that occurred in the region in 2022. Their responses included the rise of nationalism, ongoing conflicts in the area, and EU-related political processes (accession to the EU, Schengen and Eurozone).
After that opening round, Adnan offered a quick outline of recent events that are having an impact on the stability of the Western Balkans region. The war on the European continent that Russia started almost a year ago was also mentioned as an external serious issue because of the damaging consequences it has on other nations and regions, in addition to individual crises and political issues that are occurring within and between the Western Balkan countries.
During the second part of the webinar, participants had the chance to share young people’s perspective on topics such as limits of reconciliation and dealing with the past, demographic challenges, migration, and bilateral political relations between neighboring countries of the region. As part of his closing remarks, Adnan emphasized that the EU policymakers who frequently get in touch with him, always want to know how to deal with negative trends and crises in the region. He then mentioned that there are some quite positive reforms, such as the one in North Macedonia, that should get more recognition as positive examples which also deserve stronger support of the EU.