Regional cooperation represents a layered and complex set of relations between many states, having in mind that there is no single idea of the term “region”. Depending on the definition and initiative, a region may cover various states. Thus the region of South-Eastern Europe covers all former Yugoslav countries, as well as Albania, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey and Moldavia. The region of Western Balkans, on the other hand, covers Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo*.
Regional cooperation in the Western Balkans has overcome the initial goal of stabilizing a post-conflict area and grew into constructive cooperation occurring, through work on common goals and primarily European Union integration, at various levels and in various areas. The Republic of Serbia is participating in numerous institutionalized regional initiatives and regional initiatives tied to the European Union integration process.
The Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) is generating and coordinating development projects and creating a favourable political climate for their implementation. One of the most important current tasks of the Regional Cooperation Council is monitoring the South-East Europe 2020 (SEE 2020) strategy, complementary to the socio-economic development strategy of the European Union – Europe 2020 Strategy – while taking into consideration regional specifics. The SEE 2020 strategy should be viewed as a regional mechanism for improved mutual coordination of the work of participant states with the aim of economic recovery and growth.
The Berlin process is an initiative for improving the regional cooperation and European integration of the Western Balkans. It is a kind of supplement to the EU enlargement process based on cooperation in six areas: social and economic development, rule of law, digital economy, security and migration, networking, good neighbourly relations.
In addition to the above key formal ways of regional cooperation, there are numerous bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral initiatives for certain topics. The countries in the region are also involved in two macro-regional European Union initiatives: Danube Strategy and Adriatic-Ionian Strategy.
Various forms, levels, thematic foci, geographic areas and numerousness of initiatives and organizations indicate the dynamics and importance of mutual networking, exchange and cooperation at the regional level. To understand the scope, it is enough to note that there are over 50 regional initiatives and cooperation platforms.