Democracy Lab – Simulation „Focus Balkans“ from 17th to 19th November 2022 in Tbilisi, Georgia

For three days, almost 20 participants from the six countries of the Eastern Partnership dealt with the topic of the EU accession process. Students from Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine took on the roles of EU politicians and representatives of the candidate countries Serbia, Northern Macedonia and Albania in the simulation Focus Balkans.

After the roles were assigned, the simulation started with the opening speech of the EU Commission. Afterwards, the applicant countries had the opportunity to formulate their application for membership while the other EU institutions prepared for the upcoming talks. In three rounds of negotiations, the applicant countries presented their cases - then it came to the decision. Who will be a candidate country and who will not? After a short period of consideration, the Council of the EU made the decision: Northern Macedonia and Albania will be granted with the candidate status. This was not the case for Serbia, as the EU representatives did not see all Copenhagen criteria fulfilled.

In the following step, the EU institutions, together with the candidate countries and the one applicant country, developed a roadmap on how the rapprochement could be further accomplished. In the end, this was solemnly announced at a press conference. All the applicant countries expressed their willingness to follow the roadmap presented by the EU.

In the final evaluation, the participants praised the seminar as an excellent opportunity to expand their knowledge and also to acquire practical skills that will help them in many contexts in the future. At the same time, they drew a personal conclusion as to what light the experiences in the simulation shed on their country.

The event was organized in cooperation with the Konrad Adenauer Foundation South Caucasus.