The Institute of Political Studies “Sami Frashëri” (ISP), in collaboration with the Center for Advanced Studies, successfully organized the second meeting of the Balkans 2030 series, titled “Balkans in the EU and NATO: Peace in Europe,” held in Sarajevo on June 9, 2022. This conference brought together professionals from academia, civil society, diplomacy, and politics from six Balkan countries to discuss the impact of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine on Western Balkans security and the region’s future in the European Union (EU) and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

Conference Objectives

The primary aim was to explore the implications of external geopolitical tensions on the Balkans and to assess regional cooperation initiatives and the advancement of Balkan countries’ EU and NATO membership processes as essential mechanisms for ensuring stability and security in the region.

Key Discussions and Findings

  • Impact of Russia’s Aggression Against Ukraine: The conference opened with a focus on the immediate and potential long-term effects of Russia’s actions on the geopolitical landscape of the Western Balkans.
  • Open Balkans Initiative: A significant conclusion from the first day was the identification of the Open Balkans initiative as a potential loophole for Russia to circumvent sanctions imposed by the US and EU through Serbia’s economic and political ties with the Moscow-led Eurasian Economic Union.
  • Regional Cooperation and Membership Processes: Discussions emphasized the importance of enhancing regional cooperation and accelerating the EU and NATO membership processes for Balkan countries as a pathway to ensuring regional stability and security.

Participation and Contributions

The conference featured esteemed international figures in diplomacy and security, facilitating an insightful exchange on the future security landscape of the Balkans. Over the course of two days, participants engaged in robust discussions, leveraging diverse perspectives to address complex security threats, particularly in light of Russia’s unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.

Conclusions and Recommendations

  • Strengthening Regional Initiatives: The conference underscored the need for stronger regional initiatives that align with EU and NATO standards, promoting peace, stability, and security in the Balkans.
  • Mitigating External Influences: Participants recommended concerted efforts to mitigate the potential for external geopolitical influences to destabilize the region, particularly through economic and political channels.
  • Enhancing EU and NATO Integration: A consensus emerged on the critical importance of accelerating the integration of Balkan countries into the EU and NATO as a cornerstone for regional peace and stability.

Future Directions

“Balkans in the EU and NATO: Peace in Europe” has set the stage for ongoing dialogue and collaboration among Balkan states, EU and NATO bodies, and international partners. The Institute of Political Studies “Sami Frashëri” and the Center for Advanced Studies are committed to facilitating future conferences and initiatives under the Balkans 2030 series, aiming to contribute to the realization of a stable, secure, and integrated Balkan region.


The organizers express their gratitude to all participants, speakers, and partners for their valuable contributions to the conference’s success. Special thanks are extended to the local and international bodies that supported this initiative, underscoring the collaborative spirit that defines the Balkans 2030 series.

Sami Frasheri Institute
Rruga Pjeter Budi,
Qyteti Studenti, Tiranë

Balkans 2030 – Addressing Challenges to Peace, Security, and Stability

November 21, 2021 – The “Balkans 2030: Challenges to Peace, Security, and Stability” forum, organized by the Institute of Political Studies ‘Sami Frashëri’ and the Center for Advanced Studies, Sarajevo, concluded its sessions on November 19-20 at the Grand Hotel Europa in Shkodra. This critical gathering was convened against the backdrop of escalating tensions and evolving dynamics within the international system and the Balkan region, particularly concerning the actions of Serbia and external influences that threaten to destabilize the existing peace.

The forum brought together a diverse coalition of experts from the Western Balkans, including Albania, Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, and Montenegro. The assembly of professionals spanning academia, diplomacy, civic engagement, and politics discussed the burgeoning challenges that pose a threat to the region’s peace, stability, and prosperity.

Key Objectives and Discussions:

  • Coalition Building: The primary aim was to forge a coalition of regional organizations and individuals dedicated to addressing these emergent threats.
  • Threat Identification: Participants engaged in identifying immediate and looming threats to the Balkans, with a focus on creating actionable policy proposals to mitigate these risks effectively.
  • Regional Cooperation: The forum stressed the importance of regional cooperation based on equality, taking into account the unique sensitivities of each country, while staunchly opposing separatist agendas that endanger national sovereignties.

Outcomes and Recommendations: The discussions culminated in a consensus on the need for pragmatic solutions and the promotion of regional collaboration to ensure the collective security and prosperity of the Balkan states. The forum highlighted the critical role of diplomacy and dialogue in overcoming regional challenges and fostering a stable and peaceful Balkans.

Impact and Forward-Looking Statements: The Shkodra meeting marked an important moment for genuine regional dialogue, setting the stage for ongoing collaboration among intellectuals from the Western Balkan countries. By uniting a wide array of regional actors committed to peace and stability, the forum underscored the collective resolve to confront and navigate the complexities of contemporary security challenges. This event stands as a testament to the urgency and necessity of concerted efforts to safeguard the future of the Balkans, emphasizing the power of cooperation and shared vision in overcoming the hurdles that lie ahead.