Day 1

8.30 a.m.  Registration of participants and connection testing 

9.30 – 9.40 a.m. Welcome address

  • Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of the Government of the Republic of North Macedonia

9.40 – 11.15 a.m. Inaugural session: Roadmap towards a clear EU accession perspective for the Western Balkans

Moderator: Corina Stratulat, Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre (EPC)

  • Christa Schweng, President of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)
  • Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, European Commission (virtually)
  • Gašper Dovžan, State Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia
  • Tanja Miščević, Deputy Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (virtually)
  • Biljana Spasovska, Executive Director, Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN)
  • Jasna Jelišić, Head of the Western Balkans Task Force, European External Action Service (EEAS)


11.15 – 11.45 a.m. Coffee break and press conference

11.45 a.m. – 1 p.m. Second session: Post COVID-19 recovery – challenges and opportunities of the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans and the Common Regional Market

Chair: Dimitris Dimitriadis, President of the EESC's External Relations (REX) Section

  • Maciej Popowski, Acting Director-General, Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), European Commission (virtually)
  • Andi Aranitasi, Head of EBRD's Office for North Macedonia
  • Branimir Jovanovic, Economist, The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) (virtually)
  • Brikena Xhomaqi, co-chair of the EESC's Liaison Group with European CSOs and networks, Lifelong Learning Platform - European Civil Society for Education (virtually)
  • Tatjana Shterjova Dushkovski, Secretary General, WB6 Chamber Investment Forum (virtually)
  • Srđa Keković, Secretary General, Union of Free Trade Unions of Montenegro (UFTUM), and representative of the Regional Trade Union Council Solidarnost


1 – 2.30 p.m. Lunch hosted by the EESC   

2.30 – 4.30 p.m. Third session: Contribution of civil society to the Green Agenda and sustainable development of the Western Balkans as part of the EU accession process

Chair: Andrej Zorko, member of the EESC

  • Dragica Martinović Džamonja, member of the EESC and rapporteur for opinion REX/528
  • Janez Kopač, Director, Energy Community Secretariat (virtually)
  • Ljupka Siljanoska, Deputy Director, Transport Community Secretariat
  • Viktor Berishaj, Southeast Europe Climate and Energy Policy Coordinator, CAN Europe
  • Aleksandra Tomanić, Executive director, European Fund for the Balkans (virtually)
  • Darko Dimovski, President of the Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia, North Macedonia
  • Lidija Pavić Rogošić, member of the EESC (virtually)


5 p.m. Cocktail reception hosted by the Regional Cooperation Council and supported by EU TACSO 3


Day 2 : Fourth session: The situation of civil society in the Western Balkans

9.30 – 11.15 a.m. Parallel panels

Panel I: The state of social dialogue in the Western Balkans

Chair: Ana Milićević Pezelj, member of the EESC

  • Emil Krstanovski, ILO National Coordinator for North Macedonia
  • David Foden, Advisor on Industrial Relations, European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions, Eurofound (virtually)
  • Selvedin Šatorović, president, Confederation of Independent Trade Unions of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Boško Savković, Secretary General, Serbian Association of Employers – SAE, and co-chair of the EU-Serbia Civil Society Joint Consultative Committee (JCC)
  • Edison Hoxha, Executive Director, Centre for Labour Relations, Albania
  • Amira Vejzagic Ramhorst, Team Leader, Employment and Social Affairs Platform for the Western Balkans (ESAP), Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) (virtually)


Panel II: Achieving an enabling civic space in the Western Balkans

Chair: Ionut Sibian, President of the EESC's Western Balkans Follow-up Committee

  • Aleksandar Kržalovski, Director, Macedonian Center for International Cooperation (MCIC), North Macedonia
  • Maja Stojanović, Executive Director, Civic Initiatives, Serbia
  • Daliborka Uljarević, Executive Director, Centre for Civic Education, Montenegro
  • Gjergji Vurmo, Programme Director, Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM), Albania (virtually)
  • Aida Daguda, Director, Centre for Promotion of Civil Society, Bosnia and Herzegovina (virtually)
  • Dren Puka, Director for Research and Advocacy, Kosovar Civil Society Foundation (KCSF)


11.15 a.m. – 11.30 a.m.    Coffee break
11.30 a.m. – 12.15 p.m.   Discussion and adoption of the Forum conclusions

Chair: Ionuț Sibian, President of the EESC's Western Balkans Follow-up Committee

With participation of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU


Draft programme