PFD 2022: Shaping Western Balkans Future in the Contemporary European Security Architecture

Organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia
Under the auspices of the President of the Republic of North Macedonia

A quarter-century after the Yugoslav wars, Europe’s deadliest conflicts since World War II, Europe is faced with a possibly more deadly and devastating war on its soil. Thus, as yesterday’s concerns keep piling up, one – a very primordial one – is taking the floor: security. The rules-based order is being challenged while the return of the Cold War rhetoric and action is occupying our attention. The war in Ukraine generates new geopolitical challenges and realities that require vigilance and appropriate geostrategic thinking followed by straightforward actions. The only encouraging moment is the strengthening of the new-found transatlantic unity which confronts the illiberal tendencies.

As we are all confronted with dramatic and unprecedented developments on our continent with possible wider impact, the second edition of the Prespa Forum Dialogue (PFD) 2022 will cover the most pressing security, political and economic issues Europe and the Western Balkans are faced with.

Rebuilding a resilient security environment and upholding strategic partnerships in the light of the geopolitical awakening will be in the focus of the Forum’s deliberations.  How resilient is the world we live in? Can we claim that the Euro-Atlantic security architecture built on NATO and OSCE structures is able to maintain the international peace? Can the international restrictive measures stop the war?

Considering the urgent need of fast realization of the Western Balkans’ European perspective, the discussions will aim to setting up political outlines and ideas how to push the process of completion the European project forward. What are the prospects for the Western Balkans future? Is EU ready to make a shift towards new paradigms of genuine, credible and result-oriented enlargement policy?

The debate will examine the regional economic cooperation and recovery, particularly in the light of the Common Regional Market, EU Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans, Open Balkans Initiative, the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans and the role of the women and youth in building peaceful and sustainable societies.

The PFD 2022 will mark the follow-up of the first PFD held last year, building on its success, achieved results and positive assessments as a unique platform to exchanging views, experiences and ideas and to seeking innovative, diplomatic solutions on today’s and tomorrow’s challenges and threats. It also serves as an incentive for PFD to be promoted as a recognized international conference and authentic brand that reflects the contemporary models of resolving open issues in good faith which Republic of North Macedonia has demonstrated with the signing of the Ohrid Framework Agreement, the Agreement on Friendship, Good-Neighbourliness and Cooperation with Bulgaria and the Prespa Agreement with Greece. Stemming from the narrative of dialogue, political reason and diplomatic resolution of open bilateral issues, PFD promotes fostering a culture of cooperation, mutual confidence and friendship for the advancement of regional stability and its contribution to strengthening the global role of Europe as a continent of peace, freedom and welfare.

This year’s Forum will take place in the city of Ohrid, a UNESCO Natural and Cultural Heritage, from 16 to 18 June 2022, gathering prominent national and international political, security, economic, business, academic figures and experts.

Republic of North Macedonia, with its NATO membership and the status of EU candidate country ready to start the accession negotiations, as well as the upcoming OSCE Chairmanship-in-office 2023, is committed to work on promoting stability and prosperity of the region and beyond. Indeed, we are confident that PFD 2022 will be able to deliver a valuable contribution on the overall debate on current and future challenges.