KOMS at the Third Summit of Democracy in Southeast Europe (SEEDEM)

KOMS Secretary General, Miljana Pejić, has participated in the third Southeast European Democracy Summit (SEEDEM), entitled: War in Europe: Impact on the Balkans. A new showdown between security and democracy. The event was organized by the International Republican Institute (IRI), in cooperation with the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) and the Atlantic Council in Becici, Montenegro, on May 30, 2022. The event included three panels and several keynote speakers who brought the topic closer to the conference participants.

At the first panel entitled Changing Political and Security Dynamics of the Western Balkans spoke Dritan Abazovic (Prime Minister of Montenegro), Bojan Marichikj (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Affairs in Northern Macedonia), Kurt Walker (former US Ambassador to NATO and Special Envoy for NATO and Special Envoy for Ukraine), Miroslav Lajčák (EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue and Western Balkans) and Sir Stuart Peach (British Prime Minister’s Envoy for the Western Balkans).

The second panel concerned Russia’s influence on changing the geopolitical reality of the Western Balkans, and was attended by: Ranko Krivokapić (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro), Marko Makovec (Deputy Director General for Europe in the European External Action Service), Ivan Vejvoda (Acting Rector of the Institute of Humanities), Tanja Miscevic (Deputy Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council), Maja Piscevic (Senior Research Fellow of the Atlantic Council), and Ramzi Lani (Executive Director of the Albanian Media Institute).

The Secretary General of the KOMS, Miljana Pejić, spoke at the third panel entitled: The role of young people in shaping the new reality. The panel was also attended by Jovana Marovic (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for European Affairs of Montenegro), Andrea Cascone (Director for Adriatic and Balkans of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Peter Grk, Secretary General of the Bled Strategic Forum and Western Balkans Coordinator at the Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Nedim Alibegović (Secretary General of the Youth Council of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina).

The panelists agreed that the pandemic and the war in Europe had a negative impact on young people and their security and well-being. Increasingly, our topics are compulsory military service, security challenges, and in debates about the importance of these policies, young people are often not included, although they primarily feel the consequences. The mental health of young people, their unfavorable economic situation and opportunities for active participation are key priorities for young people, and institutions have been urged to pay more attention to the development of youth policies. Miljana Pejić concluded that it is important that these topics are opened at the regional level as well, and that this leads to cooperation and greater trust, of young people who are ready to truly stand up for their peaceful future. The Western Balkans Youth Lab is a good example of connecting young people with decision-makers and focusing on areas that young people saw as key to their lives – employment and mental health.

The event was also attended by participants and alumni of the Institute for Advanced Leadership in Politics Institute (ALPI), a program for young leaders from various political parties in the region implemented by the International Republican Institute (IRI). It was concluded that it is necessary to work on greater networking of young activists and young people from political parties and that it is necessary to improve the mechanisms by which young people could directly influence the improvement of their position.