The Alfred von Oppenheim Center at DGAP has launched another TRAIN programme cycle with a kick-off seminar in Berlin from 15 to 19 April 2018. With the aim of fostering policy dialogue between think tanks and political actors in the Western Balkans, the TRAIN programme (Think Tanks Providing Research and Advice through Interaction and Networking) offers organizations from the six Western Balkans states Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia training and networking opportunities. The programme is funded by the German Federal Foreign Office (Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe).
Throughout the year 2018, a group of twelve TRAIN alumni and three experts from EU member states will engage in an in-depth strategic foresight project dedicated to the future of the Western Balkans’ EU integration with a focus on regional cooperation. In three workshops, the analysts will develop scenarios from which they will draw ideas and recommendations for EU enlargement policy. The process will be facilitated methodologically by Foresight Intelligence.
In Berlin, apart from a consolidation of technical skills and methodology a special focus lay on the interaction among the participants, as well as on discussions with political decision-makers and think tank representatives. The group exchanged views with Head of the Western Balkans Division at the German Federal Foreign Office Sabine Stöhr, as well as with Deputy Head of the Western Balkans Division of the European External Action Service Clive Rumbold, among others. An animated debate followed during a panel discussion with Head of the SWP Brussels Office Dušan Reljić, DGAP Senior Research Fellow Milan Nič, and Dr. Natasha Wunsch of EHT Zurich.
The participants will further elaborate their findings of these three days during two ensuing workshops in Belgrade and in Brussels. They will discuss their results with relevant EU decision-makers and finally summarize them in a joint publication. Particular emphasis is placed on current developments such as the publication of the EU Enlargement Strategy and the regional country reports of the European Commission, resulting in targeted recommendations for action.