In its strategy towards EU membership, Albania has been firmly engaged in the Berlin Process. This commitment has been translated in numerous political declarations, statements, memorandums of understanding, bilateral and multilateral agreements and different regional cooperation projects.

In the aftermath of the Western Balkans Summit held in Vienna in August 2015, the political commitments leave the place to the implementation phase. Beside the civil society which for the first time sit side by side with WB6 leaders in the Vienna talks, new actors enter the scene such as public administration in charge of preparing the connectivity projects; banks, international financial and donor institutions in charge of financing; business community, etc.

Once the political importance and commitment has been stated, project preparation, financing, implementation and monitoring take the priority. This phase requires a more intense communication and explanation campaign, so that the interested actors, and over all, the citizens gain a comprehensive understanding and provide their support

to the ongoing process.

In this framework of intense and multi-faceted regional cooperation, ShtetiWeb has launched in March 2015, the Observatory of Regional Integration. This structure offers a platform for the observation, collection of empirical data, analysis and promotion of regional integration, in the context of cross-border, transnational and inter-regional cooperation in the Western Balkans.

The conference “Albania in the Berlin Process: Fall 2015 Stocktaking and Recommendations” is the next step in the strategy of ShtetiWeb designed to contribute to the EU integration of Albania. It aims to delve further in the policy-making arena by providing an independent assessment of one of the most important and challenging endeavours in which Albania is currently involved.

Concretely the conference will present the context and rationale of the Berlin Process; its interaction with the EU accession strategy; the main position of the national actors; the implementation mechanisms (such as National Investment Council, Single Sector Working Groups, Single Project Pipeline, etc.), as well as provide a critical assessment of the achieved progress since Berlin Conference. Furthermore, the speakers will discuss on the goals set in the Vienna Summit and the ways in which the main stakeholders intend to achieve them for an efficient preparation for the Paris Summit in 2016.

The Tirana Conference will bring together policy-makers, business community, academia, think tanks, civil society, media, etc. from Albania as well as from the Western Balkans region. Each session of the conference will be followed by a question and answers space, where participants can discuss with the experts and politicians.

The proceedings of the Tirana Conference will be published in a Policy Paper, and shared among the interested stakeholders in Albania and in the Western Balkans region. This conference opens up the cycle of activities for civil society to contribute to evidence-based policy-making.