Nine top officials from the Balkans and central Europe are meeting in Geneva at the invitation of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to discuss economic integration and collaboration.
In a rare occurrence, the president of Kosovo and prime minister of Serbia are sitting around the same table. Less than a month ago Kosovo’s
President Hashim Thaci and his Serbian counterpart Aleksandar Vucic cancelled participation in a Brussels meeting at the last minute because of “differences”. This time Thaci and Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic are both present at the WEF meeting.
Thaci is facing internal protest over his proposal to “correct” the borders to normalise relations with Serbia, which does not recognise Kosovo’s independence. This would involve population swaps between a majority Albanian region of Serbia and a majority Serbian region of Kosovo, according to media reports. Thousands of people protested on Sunday against Thaci.
Also attending the WEF meeting are Slovenian President Borut Pahor, prime ministers Andrej Plenkovic of Croatia and Edi Rama of Albania, vice prime minister of Montenegro Zoran Pazin, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and Bulgarian minister Lilyana Pavlova.
In addition, the Turkish and Slovak foreign ministers and German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen are present. Switzerland is represented by deputy state secretary at the foreign ministry Krystyna Marty Lang.
The World Economic Forum hopes the participants will reach a framework agreement for continued collaboration.