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Regional seminar entitled EU and Western Balkans: The Common Future for fourth generation of the School of European Integration was held last week in North Mitrovica. The aim of the Seminar was an exchange of experiences, good practices and better understanding of the European Integration process. Topics considering challenges and future of the EU were processed in the light of bureaucracy, populism, and the crisis of democracy, as well as regional cooperation in the Western Balkans. The concrete changes that the European integration process provide to the citizens, were also discussed.

Regional seminar was opened by the President of European Movement in Serbia Mihailo Crnjobrnja, Executive Director of NGO Aktiv Miodrag Milićević and Rudina Hasimja, representative of the Kosovo Foundation for an Open Society, that is initiator and donor organisation of the School of European Integration (SEI).

Mimoza Ahmetaj, Kosovo Minister of European Integration, Srđan Majstorović a representative of Ministry of European Integration of Serbia and Head of the EU Office in Kosovo Nataliya Apostolova were speakers at the seminar. Besides the SEI attendants, the seminar was attended by representatives of local self-government, civil society and media, and representatives of the relevant institutions for European integration.

Head of the European Union Office in Pristina and EU Special Representative Natalia Apostolova expressed her satisfaction because she met with young people in North Mitrovica who represent the future. She reiterated the words of the head of the European diplomacy, Federica Mogherini, recently pronounced during her visit to the region, that Western Balkan countries have clear European perspective.

Apostolova said that she noticed some kind of lethargy and Euroscepticism in recent months, but we should try to overcome it. The European Union has its own internal problems, but this does not mean that this region has lost its European future, Apostolova stated and invited the parties in Prishtina to form the government rapidly after parliamentary elections. She also hopes that regardless who will be in the new government to take responsibility for doing business with EU.

Among the participants of panel discussion were Vladimir Međak, President of the Research Forum of the European Movement in Serbia, Simonida Kačarska, representative of the European Policy Institute in Macedonia, and Alban Hashani Executive Director of Riinvest Institute.

The European Integration School, which has been held for four years, is a project of the Kosovo Foundation for an Open Society (KFOS), and it is implemented in cooperation with the European Movement in Serbia and the NGO Aktiv in the North Kosovo. It is part of the KFOS concept, "Reconnecting Mitrovica", and it it intended for officials of public institutions and local self-government leaders and members of civil society organizations, representatives of the media and the business sector, as well as students in the north of Kosovo, with the aim of improving the knowledge and understanding of the process of European integration and functioning of the EU.

The program of School of European Integration also envisages study visits and a series of open lectures by eminent experts and EU officials for the general public. More information about the project can be found here.


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