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Belgrade Dialogues

Jelena Volic Beogradski Dijalozi

Program description

Policy makers in Serbia must be open to other people’s experiences, knowledge and skills; willing to cooperate, to know to ask for advice, but also to be able to finally make decisions in accordance with standards of the EU and the best interest of their citizens.

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Program description

The process of Serbia’s accession into the EU is equally important as its future membership. Accession negotiations in particular imply the development of institutions and procedures according to very clear-cut and strict criteria. Serbia will have to go through numerous reforms which should stabilize the structure of the state and harmonize it with other EU member states. As the process of accession is, in its essence, the process of state building according to exacting rules, Serbia is in need of dialogue: Serbia’s decision-makers, whose task is to lead the country’s way through the reforms, need support in the form of knowledge transfer and experience sharing.

First Belgrade Dialogues were held in February 2015 in the Belgrade City Hall. Photo: Aleksandar Andjic/BFPE

The competence of decision-makers to communicate with the public and inform it about the necessity of reforms will lay the necessary groundwork for gaining support and building the will of the majority for the implementation of these reforms. Good or bad, the results of the reforms will influence the citizens of Serbia as well as the lives of future generations. Serious, continuous dialogue with representatives of different parts of society, and above all with the professional public, is the best way towards a policy community that will consider different scenarios, assess which is the most appropriate one, and with suitable elaboration, propose them to both decision- and opinion-makers. Decision-makers in Serbia must be open to the experiences of others, to knowledge and skills that are not yet acquired, and be ready to cooperate with experts from the EU. They have to ask for advice, but in the end, be capable of making decisions in line with the interests of citizens as well as the high standards of the EU.

The Belgrade Dialogues are a venue and platform precisely for this type of exchange. It is an idea that intends to alter the usual ‘conference communication’ of Serbian and foreign political elites and decision-makers.

Belgrade Dialogues rest on the idea of togetherness: WE are Europe – Serbia is part of Europe and its EU membership will be the final stage of a process that will stabilize and reorganize the state as well as the society.

Belgrade Dialogues do not intend to underscore the divergences and particularities of Serbia, but via cooperation with the neighboring and developed EU countries, our future colleagues in the European Parliament, to discuss the problems, difficulties and suitable solutions. They will also present Serbia’s accomplishments that can hopefully serve others as an inspiration or model.

This project concerns the political elite of Serbia as well as the various socially committed people, for whom it envisages sound support during each phase of accession negotiations and the accession process. It also brings the Serbian public an anticipation of European togetherness, good-neighbourliness, fellowship, solidarity and friendship.

The Belgrade Dialogues are a joint initiative of the Forum Serbia-Germany and the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence.

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