5th regional conference „Move.Link.Engage.Fundamentals.Wanted“ was organized by Belgrade Open School in hotel Zira in Belgrade on 12th and 13th of September with the support of Embassy of Sweden in Belgrade. Besides of Embassy of Sweden, organization of this conference was supported by OSCE mission in Serbia, Foundation Solidar Swiss, The European Fund for the Balkans and European Union.

The aim of this conference was to promote and encourage regional approach to solving common problems and better cooperation between citizens and organizations of civil society in process of European integrations. On opening ceremony of conference, general director of Belgrade Open School Vesna Đukić has highlighted: ”This conference is dedicated to the search of fundamentals of basic human rights and values on which is based European Union.”

His Excellency Jan Lundin, the ambassador of Kingdom of Sweden in Serbia, has opened this conference with the reminder that European future of countries in this region is based on citizens and their will and that in the process of European integrations of the whole region support of civil society is the key.

During the first day panel discussions were moderated by the journalist Ljubica Gojgić. The first  panel discussions theme was “Space for Civic Engagement in European Integration Process: Where Do We Go from Here?” during which we discussed about democratic engagement and civic participation as cornerstones of the European integration processes in Western Balkan region. The participants in this panel discussion were Donika Emini, Executive Director of CiviKos Platform & BiEPAG Member, Jovana Marović, Executive Director of Politikon Network & BiEPAG Member and Jane Juzová, Research Fellow, EUROPEUM Institute for European Policy.

First day of conference was finished with the session “Civil Society as Force for a Change in Serbia’s EU Accession Process – CS4EU” where the representatives of civil sector partner organizations discussed about how EU related reforms affect lives of citizens and why it is important to secure more active participation of civil society and media in the EU integration process.

“Organizations of civil society and media have decisive importance in approaching the process of EU integrations to the citizens. Their role is to meet the public with benefits of membership in the EU”, was the conclusion of journalist Ljubica Gojgić.

During the first day of conference was Belgrade Open School’s „Future Studies“ Diploma Awards Ceremony for the 26th generation of students.

Second day of conference has started with the plenary session “On the Road to the EU: Regional Cooperation as Fundamental”. During this session we intended to provide an overview of regional cooperation in the Western Balkans and how this cooperation could be improved and more efficient in the future.

“Name of this conference indicates that this region should be moved, linked and engaged. I would add just one more word – endured. I’m glad that I am here today and that I have been assured that giving up of the regional cooperation is not an option”, those were the words of Vesselin Valkanov, Ambassador, Head of Office Regional Cooperation Council – Liaison Office in Brussels.

Within first block of parallel panel discussions we debated on the future of  the Berlin Process, career guidance and counseling policies.

During the Berlin Process panel the speakers have debated on main prophecies and achievements in the last five years since the beginning of iniviative, as well as possible ways of cooperation and models for better and more efficient practices of existing mechanisms.

„On the next Berlin Proces Summit, youth and civil society will be unseparate part. This Summit will be an example of good neighborhood cooperation because it will be jointly organized by North Macedonia and Bulgaria“, Toni Pavloski, Deputy Director, Directorate for the EU, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia.

On second parallel session „Skills.Wanted – Guidance Policies towards Future Skills Development“ the participants discussed about youth employment and dual education in Serbia.

„It is necessary to speed up the reforms of education. The businesses that exist now will not disappear, but will go through the process of transition, and the new will appear in regards to technological development“, said Helmut Zelloth.

Through the parallel session „Winter is coming: Air quality as a pressing challenge for Western Balkan countries“ participants had a chance to listen about air quality and public health, policies of European Union, Energy Community and Serbia in this area. Special attention was dedicated to the question in which way citizens can contribute to those problems and how they can use open data on which BOS and partners from IT sector with the support of UN Development Programme will be working during this winter.

„If Air Quality Directive becomes part of legal frame of Energy Community, that will require additional expences, primarily for establishing a system for monitoring. However, every expence for environmental protection should be seen as an investition. Researches show that the benefits of investment in environmental protection overpower the expences even 15 times more. Every invested euro will be returned as 15 times higher value“, said Peter Vajda, Senior Environmental Expert in Energy Community.

On second parallel session „Strengthening Accountability in the Western Balkan Region“ participants have disscused about the government accountability in the Western Balkan Region, different approaches of region in providing strategic and normative frameworks in order to improve government accountability. Participants have agreed on what is necessary to do in order to overcome the abuse of existing frames and bad examples, but as well when it comes to strenghtening the role that civil society has in this process.

„Responsible government implies also responsible and active citizens and organizations of civil society that continuously question actions of government and suggest alternatives in regards to needs of the whole society“, was the conclusion of Joseph Mellott, Deputy Head of OSCE Mission to Serbia.

Closing word of this conference that has gathered more than 200 participants that are representors of civil, public and business sector had Milorad Bjeletić, Executive Director of Belgrade Open School.

During 5 years of organizing, this conference has gathered more than 140 speakers and over 800 participants, representatives of civil society, officials of national and european institutions, experts in different areas from regional countries and European Union, activists, representatives of business sector and international organizations that have actively participated in over 40 sessions.