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For the last 18 years, Friends of Europe together with the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung and other key partners have been addressing issues affecting the Balkans, enabling senior policymakers from the region to share their concerns and ideas with the European Union and its member state policymakers. Our Balkans series has welcomed presidents, prime ministers and ministers, as well as a few hundred key representatives from the EU institutions, member states, business representatives and civil society.
In 2017, Friends of Europe and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung, in association with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), the European Commission and NIS, organised a high level event “Western Balkans at a crossroads - new challenges, changing dynamics”. It brought together some 200 senior stakeholders from across Europe, the Western Balkans region and beyond to examine how democracy, peace and stability, as well as economic development and integration in the Western Balkans, depend not only on the policies and actions of national governments but also on regional, municipal and city authorities.
Youth play a crucial role in the debate and with that thought in mind, the 2017 edition of our Balkan Summit offered an opportunity for a youth delegation from the region to engage, comment and possibly disagree with their national decision-makers. The delegation included a youth representative from each Western Balkan country, and each delegate provided insightful comments during the debates, and also afterwards – the idea being to offer useful recommendations from youth to decision-makers with the ambition that these recommendations will be implemented.