On October 13, the "Role of the Parliaments in the Berlin Process" conference took place in Tirana, Albania gathering Members of the Western Balkans Parliaments, parliamentary staff, and other relevant stakeholders. Building on a previous conference held in Skopje in September 2023, this event focused on enhancing parliamentary engagement and decision-making in the Berlin Process. A joint Declaration, underscoring the vital role of parliaments in the Berlin Process, was agreed upon, emphasizing regional cooperation in the Western Balkans. The overarching aim is to instill a deeper sense of ownership and involvement of the Parliaments in promoting the objectives of the Berlin Process and in monitoring the commitments made by the governments, particularly within the Common Regional Market (CRM).
The discussions highlighted the integral role of regional collaboration in progressing towards EU integration. The importance of the Berlin Process as a platform for reform and regional cooperation was emphasized, spotlighting the need for parliaments' support through adopting legislation and providing strategic direction.
Moreover, the role of parliaments in regional cooperation was discussed, emphasizing the need for more practical involvement and central positioning in the Berlin Process. The relationship between parliaments and civil society was also explored, underscoring mutual benefits and the significant contributions each sector brings to the discussions.
The conference was organized in collaboration of the Committee on European Affairs of the National Parliament of Albania and the project “Parliamentary Diplomacy: Regional Cooperation through Enhanced Parliamentary Dialogue” which is implemented by a Consortium of civil society organizations from the Western Balkans led by the Institute for Democracy and supported by the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. This conference, as well as the first one held in Skopje, was also supported by Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
Picture: Deborah Leuthold