This challenging period for democracy in the Western Balkans requires exceptional leadership with a vision that sees progressive solutions.

 Gazmend Berlajolli

In the dynamic and ever-evolving context of the Western Balkans, the challenges facing our democracies today are truly unique. From the legacy of historical conflicts to the complexities of state building, we stand at a pivotal point. At this defining moment, a clear message resonates: This challenging period for democracy in the Western Balkans requires exceptional leadership with a vision that sees progressive solutions, and with a comprehensive consultative process including, political subjects, the private sector and the wider society.

In our region, democracy is not only a political system; it must be seen and believed by all to be a bridge to peace, stability and prosperity. The wounds of the past remind us that the consolidation of democratic values is a continuous effort. It is essential that our governments display visionary leadership that crosses political lines. In a landscape often characterized by historical divisions that persist today, leaders must prioritize unity and shared vision above all else. They must uphold transparency, inclusiveness and accountability as the cornerstones of governance, fostering trust between different parties and communities.

The private sector, a driving force in our economies, also plays a critical role. Businesses in the Western Balkans must understand their unique responsibility to contribute to the region’s democratic sustainability. Maintaining ethical standards, supporting civil society initiatives and respecting the rule of law are not just empty practices, but also acts of commitment in our collective democratic journey.

However, the call for outstanding leadership goes beyond institutions. An active civil society, as evidence of the democratic progress of our region, is essential in preserving democratic values. NGOs, community-based movements and advocacy groups must advocate relentlessly for change, bringing progressive voices from their communities. They must act as vigilant guardians, ensuring that democratic principles remain at the heart of our societies.

The challenges before us are complex, including issues such as security, corruption, ethnic tensions and the need for reconciliation. To tackle these complexities, a spirit of collaboration is imperative. Political polarization has hindered progress in the past, making our democracies more vulnerable to external pressures and internal disputes. Progressive, cross-party solutions through inclusive public discussion are key to building sustainable democracies in the Western Balkans.

In conclusion, the Western Balkans is at a critical point in the journey of democracy. States must be established. The complexity of our region requires unwavering commitment and action from our governments, the private sector and civil society. Leadership with a progressive vision, with a focus on unity, transparency and inclusiveness, is the cornerstone of our sustainable democratic growth. So let this letter remain a call to unite, acknowledging that progressive solutions leading to Integration in the European Union are our compass on the way to a more stable, more prosperous and more democratic Western Balkans for all.


Gazmend Berlajolli, Program Manager for the Western Balkans at The Balkan Forum