Zlatko Lagumdzija, former Prime Minister of Bosnia & Herzegovina and Member of the Club de Madrid, is the Founder of SSVSA opened the conference together with the Mayor of Sarajevo. Furthermore the following Club de Madrid members participated as key speakers: Boris Tadic, former President of Serbia; Aleksander Kwasniewski, former President of Poland; and George Papandreou, former Prime Minister of Greece.
The sessions were focused on three key topics:
- Institutions building through EU/NATO process: Shared Societies and Values progress and policies
- Education: Building block of Shared Societies and Values.
- Economy: Building block of Shared Societies and Values.
The international panellist in the Conference were members of Club de Madrid, the World Academy of Art and Science, EU, Council of Europe, Bertelsmann Stiftung, and OECD, together with NGO’s, Academics, business and government officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The Chair of the Presidency of Bosnia I Hercegovina, Mladen Ivanic, and Mr Lagumdzija contributed to the closing session.
Zlatko Lagumdzija emphasized in his opening remarks the added value of the Shared Societies notion in a diverse society such as Bosnia and Herzegovina: “communities have become more intercultural, 90% of countries include at least 10% of minorities among their population”. Prime Minister Lagumdzija highlighted that “the Ten Shared Societies Commitments by the Club de Madrid are the initial roadmap for our activities.”
The Club de Madrid members were the key note speakers in the first panel and shared lessons and good practices from the European integration process and policies in Greece, Poland and Serbia.
Prime Minister Papandreou stressed that, despite difficulties in the region, working together is a priority: “enlargement is not only a geopolitics term, we are a family of common values: democracy, social cohesion and respect for minorities.” He also highlighted that the European project should expand those values keeping the enlargement of the European Union as a framework where we share the same values.
President Kwasniewski stressed that Poland has been a good example of success in the European Project through necessary reforms. He also supported the idea that the European Union must be opened for enlargement. In addition to his, he underlined the importance of reconciliation processes as a very important pillar of European Union integration “not only in the interest of these countries, even for all Europe”.
President Tadic stressed that “societies need leadership that includes the philosophy of convergence while respecting differences and diverse identities” making a clear reference to the history of the Western Balkans. He also highlighted the reconciliation process as the best way to achieve democracy and social cohesion in Europe “internal reconciliation was a key issue for social cohesion in Serbia and for the stability of the region”. President Tadic had visited Sebrenica during his presidency and apologied for any wrongs that the Serb population had done. He stated that the European integration is the only alternative for real European convergence.
Mladen Ivanic, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in his closing remarks, highlighted the importance of identity and the Shared Society Values as part of the solution for Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Prime Minister Lagumdzija also highlighted in his closing remarks “there is no Plan B instead of Shared Societies as there is no other alternative planet”.
Research Consultant, Club of Madrid Shared Societies Project Policy and Content Coordinator