Battelli at NATO PA 071117Roberto Battelli at the Rose-Roth Seminar in Ljubljana, 7 November 2017. (Photo: Roberta Calorio/NATO PA)LJUBLJANA, 7 November 2017 – The OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Representative on South East Europe, Slovenian parliamentarian Roberto Battelli, spoke today at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly’s 96th Rose-Roth seminar on the Western Balkans in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Battelli described his latest visit to South East Europe as Special Representative, in which he met with high-level officials in Albania, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Among the priorities of his visit, he said, were discussions on measures taken to counter radicalization and violent extremism, as well as promoting reforms and improvements for ethnic minorities in the region.

“Our observations confirmed that the region continues to hold its hopes for a better future on its longstanding goal of integrating into the EU,” Battelli said. “In short, EU integration, domestic reforms aimed at improving status of non-majoritarian communities and reconciliation go hand in hand in South East Europe.”

While noting that the goal of European Union integration has represented a powerful and effective incentive in advancing progress on numerous fronts, the Special Representative regretted that in his view, progress has slowed down due to the EU being unable to follow through on its commitment to integrate the region.

“We have also seen, once again, how the diminished prospective of a speedy EU integration might make the region backpedal on its reform agenda,” Batttelli said.

In this regard, Battelli has recommended to the OSCE PA’s Standing Committee that increased attention be paid to the situation and assistance given to the countries of the Western Balkans in order to reverse current negative trends.

“The OSCE, including its executive structures, institutions and field operations, should maintain a welcoming and strong engagement in the region,” said the Special Representative.

The NATO PA seminar is taking place 7-9 November in Ljubljana and focuses on the Euro-Atlantic perspective of the Western Balkans. Topics on the agenda include internal and external challenges arising from migration, populism, nationalism, and so-called “fake news.”

NATO PA President Paolo Alli and senior Slovenian government officials, including Milan Brglez, President of the National Assembly; Andreja Katic, Minister of Defence; and Andrei Logar, State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, are attending the seminar along with OSCE and EU representatives and independent experts.

The NATO PA holds two to three Rose-Roth Seminars per year focusing on regional security issues.