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II Conference “Ukraine – The Day After the War: Lessons from the Western Balkans”

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On December 14, 2023, the Konrad Adenauer Foundation in Serbia and Montenegro, in collaboration with RESECO, Serbia, hosted a conference titled “Ukraine – The Day After the War: Lessons from the Western Balkans”. This hybrid event, facilitated both in-person in Belgrade and online via Zoom.

Initiated by Jakov Devčić and Dr. Stefan Surlić, with Marlon Amoyal moderating, the event underscored the complexity of EU integration amid ongoing conflict. Discussions delved into Ukraine’s status as an EU candidate, emphasizing the necessity of maintaining the rule of law and combating corruption as pivotal to integration efforts. The panelists explored the potential impacts of Ukraine’s and Moldova’s EU negotiations on the Western Balkans, highlighting the nuanced dynamics of regional integration processes.

A key part of the dialogue focused on the development of strategies for the return and integration of refugees and displaced persons within Ukraine, stressing the role of both Ukraine and the international community in facilitating these efforts. The conference illuminated the essential nature of government and international support in rebuilding infrastructure and providing financial aid and employment opportunities to encourage returnees.

The recommendations from the conference included the need for long-term management of the EU integration process, emphasizing institutional capacity building and maintaining public enthusiasm for EU membership. Additionally, the importance of building resilient societies to address post-war challenges, such as demilitarization, psychological rehabilitation, and demining, was highlighted. The discussions also touched on the need for institutional transformation to ensure a stable, democratic, and fair society, as well as combating misinformation and supporting civil society’s role in the reconstruction process.

The conference was divided into two panels, “EU Integrations of Ukraine: Are Reforms Possible During War?” and “Migrations – Strategies for the Return and Integration of Refugees and Displaced Persons” which were discussed by diverse group of experts from various fields from the Western Balkans and Ukraine.

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