More than 400 concrete recommendations for policymakers
More than 400 recommendations for policymakers
The Regional Agenda 2030 is a project that aims to develop joint regional policies, offer solutions to shared projects, and later on implement projects in order to realise these policies through the network established during the development of the policies. The project is led by the ADD and is supported by the Embassy of Switzerland in Belgrade, the Olof Palme International Center and Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
The Strategic Document we are sending you is being presented to European and regional political public, European Parliament, Eureopan Commission, embassies in the region, international experts and policy-makers and is a product of comprehensive work which was done through several separate events and conferences held between November 2020 and June 2021. The list of contributors includes decision-makers, officials, members of parliaments, ministers, activists, experts and CSOs from the region. The entire list of participants and contributors to the Regional Agenda 2030 final document is included in the document itself and ADD thanks all those who contributed.
The Strategic Document before you, offers more than 400 concrete recommendations in six different policy areas and all of them are a product of thorough analysis, detailed debate and careful deliberation. All of those recommendations represent the Regional Agenda 2030 – a set of recommendations and tasks that need to be conducted by the governments of the region in order for those countries to become truly democratic, modern and humane societies which are governed by the principles of democracy, rule of law, independence of institutions, respect of human rights, equality, liberty, progress and reconciliation in the region.
Policy areas in which the Regional Agenda 2020-2030 offers solutions are:
- Active Citizenship, Participatory Democracy and Accountability
- Equality and Human Rights, Freedom of Media
- EU Integration, Foreign Policy and Security
- Rule of Law and Independence of Institutions
- Economic Cooperation, Environment and Sustainable Development
- Sustainable Peacebuilding and Interethnic Dialogue
In the light of the events that took place during the production of the paper (2020/2021), and especially concerned about the dangerous consequences and repercussions of the non-paper presented to the European and regional public by Slovenian Prime minister Janez Jansa, ADD sees following as the key recommendations and a backbone of the process of democratization of the region as a whole and of the countries in it:
- Any change of the borders between the countries of the region, especially along the ethnic lines as proposed by Slovenian Prime minister, further destabilize peace in the region and endanger good neighbourly relations. All attempts, initiatives, ideas and notions of new ethnic divisions need to be rejected and condemned by all political actors. Ideas of greater ethnically homogenous nationalistic states and ethnoterritorialism promoted by corrupt and conservative political elites have to remain in the last century where they belong and should be replaced by a shared vision of the countries as developed, modern, democratic and humane societies working together towards the same goals, rule of law, democracy, respect of human rights and freedoms and sharing a common future for their citizens.
- In this sense, attempts and initiatives for creation of new projects which foresee greater national states, such as projects for creation of greater Serbia (“Serbian World”), greater Albania or greater Croatia which are becoming ever more vivid in public discourse, are especially dangerous, since they violate integrity and sovereignty of neighboring states, infringe human rights of their citizens and actively negate mere existence of nations and countries in the region and, by doing that, they are continuing the darkest traditions and aspirations for creation of greater states, permanently destabilize entire region, putting pressure on neighboring countries and directly interfere in their internal matters.
- Regional transformation from stabilocracies to democracies is essential for economic, political, financial, democratic, cultural and any other development. In the process of promoting the EU rule of law, it is necessary to include additional actors – both expert and non-political – who will complement the EU’s efforts by convincing national elites of the need to internalise EU values.
- There can be no substitute to the full EU membership of all the countries of the region. No regional imitative cooperation, be it political, economic, cultural, financial, institutional, fiscal, infrastructural or any other form or forum of cooperation, can serve as a replacement for the accession of all the countries of the region to the EU. A credible and tangible perspective of membership is therefore needed, and the process needs to be transformed and adjusted to the new circumstances both in the region and in the EU.
- The first group of countries needs to be fully prepared for EU memberships in 2025, the second in 2028 and the third in 2030. The role and support of the countries of the region that already are NATO and EU member states, Slovenia and Croatia, is essential in this endeavour, both formally and informally.
- All the countries of the Western Balkans need to fully harmonize their foreign and security policy with NATO and EU in order to strengthen mechanisms which would enable them to fight destructive and harmful influences coming from Russia and China. Countries which are part of the Partnership for Peace, and are not members of NATO, should apply for membership in NATO.
- Authority of certain EU Institutions, such as European Public Prosecutor’s Office in charge of investigating corruption and misuse of EU funds, needs to be expandedto the countries of the Western Balkans even before formal acceptance in the EU membership.
- EU and USA should coordinate and introduce targeted sanctions for individuals and organisations involved in undermining democracy, the rule of law and democratic institutions in the region, as well as for those violating human rights, spreading ethnic hatred, promoting war criminals, negating war crimes and disrespecting the decisions and rulings of courts and international tribunals for the war crimes. Sanctions need to be applied to the individuals and media that are spreading hatred, involved in war-mongering activities and leading orchestrated campaigns against officials and citizens of other countries.
- Justice needs to be achieved for all the victims and their families. All war crimes need to be prosecuted. Prosecutors’ offices for war crimes of the countries of the region need to coordinate their work, exchange experience, knowledge, materials and information and to work together towards bringing justice to all the victims.
- All the parliaments of the region need to adopt resolutions that condemn war crimes and pay respect to all the victims. Any negation, relativisation and promotion of war crimes needs to be sanctioned and criminalised.
- Sentenced war criminals need to be banned from practising politics, being politically active, speaking publicly. promoting war crimes and holding offices.
- All needed mechanisms which will enable citizens’ participation in the work of institutions, political processes, control over the work of the government, control over spending the public funding, holding politicians accountable need to be established, and the role of the political parties in political processes must not overpass legal framework.
- In order to establish truly democratic model of good governance, emphasize needs to be put on the fight against populism and empowerment of the institutions which are systematically being diminished by populism.
- Electoral systems in the region must not incite and strengthen autoritarism and ethnic divisions, further deepen ethnic divisions and motivate politicians to mobilize voters exclusively on ethnic basis by using chauvinist and nationalistic discourse, hatred speech and by promoting war crimes and war criminals.
- Background of all politically motivated assassinations and murders needs to be discovered, perpetuators and organizes found out and sanctioned. All cases of attacks on journalists need to be solved and all responsible need to be subjected to legal procedures. All those responsible for assassination of Kosovo opposition leader Oliver Ivanovic need to be identified and sanctioned. Political background of assassination of Prime minister of Serbia Dr. Zoran Djindjic needs to be investigated and discovered.
- Comprehensive and binding agreement between Belgrade and Pristina needs to be reached and signed by the end of 2022 and it needs to be a product of comprehensive institutional and inclusive dialogue.
- Countries of the region need to be secular states in which religious communities have their role which is determined by the law and constitution and do not actively participate in the political activities, party politics, electoral and other processes. životu, stranačkoj politici i izbornim i drugim političkim procesima.
- Countries of the region need to become fully integrated part of the European Green Agenda and implement all modern standards for protection of environment. This not only includes implementation of all the provisions and obligations from the Paris Agreement, but it also means joining the “4 for 1000” initiative which foresees completely new approach to the absorption of excess CO2 from the atmosphere and which brings together some of the most developed countries of the world.
- Investments coming from the EU need to be significantly higher and Investment plan upgraded to enable creation of sustainable, quality and better paid jobs which require qualified labour force. Strengthening the economic system and rule of law will result in diminishing the brain-drain and workers leaving the region. Cooperation between the countries of the region in this sense is crucial, and joint infrastructural projects which will increase free movement of goods, labour and capital are necessary.
- There needs to be political and societal consensus and support for regional cooperation in the hearts and minds of the people. Leaders and officials of the countries need to be devoted to regional cooperation and refrain from inciting conflicts, using old and opened wounds to gain political points and fostering a system in which exploiting ethnic and other differences are the easiest way to mobilise voters and gain popularity. CSOs in the region need to contribute to this process and peace-building.
READ THE REGIONAL AGENDA 2020-2030 HERE!!!