In crucial week for the Western Balkans, Allied lawmakers to discuss the region’s Euro-Atlantic prospects

Skopje, 26 June 2018 – Less than two weeks after the historic agreement between Prime Ministers Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly will meet in Skopje from 27 to 29 June for its 98th Rose-Roth Seminar.

The agreement promises to unblock the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s* road towards the EU and NATO. Some 60 members of parliament from 23 NATO member states and partner countries will therefore take the opportunity to discuss the internal reform processes of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and the country’s relationship with its neighbours.

Prime Minister Zaev, Speaker of the Parliament Talat Xhaferi, other government officials as well as Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces  (DCAF) and additional experts will address the ongoing reform processes across all government sectors. The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Ambassadors from all neighbours will sketch out how to further build confidence, trust and good neighbourly relations.

The Seminar comes at a critical time for the future of the Western Balkans as a whole. During its 28-29 June Council meeting, the European Union could open accession talks with Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Just two weeks later, NATO leaders are expected to start accession talks with the latter and discuss the way forward for Bosnia and Hercegovina’s NATO aspirations.

The keynote speaker, former US Ambassador James Pardew, will highlight the importance of regional stability for the atlantic Alliance, based on his experience as former US Special Envoy in the Balkans and NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General for Operations.

Bekim Maksuti, Deputy Minister of Defence, and Stevo Pendarovski, National Coordinator for the preparation for NATO membership, as well as Josip Brkic, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, will outline the two NATO aspirants’ expectations for the NATO Summit on 11-12 July.

The Seminar will also tackle other important topics for the Western Balkans, including the state of interethnic relations, the role of disinformation and misinformation in public discourse as well as the migration crisis and the Balkan Route.

Delegates will hear from other government officials, ambassadors and independent experts, including Deputy Prime Minister Hazbi Lika and other senior ministers.

Ilija Dimovski, the Head of the Parliament’s Delegation to the NATO PA, and Speaker Xhaferi will welcome participants in Skopje.

This event is organised with the generous support of the Swiss Government and DCAF. The Seminar will bring together approximately 120 participants in total. The key objective of Rose-Roth Seminars is to facilitate dialogue on regional security matters among legislators from NATO and partner nations.
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* Turkey recognises the Republic of Macedonia with its constitutional name