On 21-24 July 2016, the 2nd edition of the “Europe Lab” Forum in Croatia brought together around 80 young professionals aged between 25 and 35 from 26 European countries working in NGOs, think tanks, universities, business, public administration, and other fields of professional engagement. 
The opening of the Forum took place on 21 July at the Nikola Tesla Technical Museum in Zagreb, but its major events were held in Vukovar, a town on the Croatian-Serbian border. Its siege in August-November 1991 cost thousands of victims and displaced persons, while the town was almost completely destroyed.
Vukovar as a scenery for one of the most tragic pages in the modern history of the Balkans helped our participants to better understand, how complex the topics of war memories and reconciliation are, – says Vesna Teršelič, Founder and Director at the “Documenta” Centre for Dealing with the Past, Coordinator of the Workshop “Wars After 1989 – Is There a Chance for Reconciliation?” (Croatia). – Even 25 years after the siege of Vukovar, the situation in the town is far from a peaceful resolution, many issues have been silenced or not mentioned. When talking of other conflicts around the world – such as Ukraine or Nagorno-Karabakh, we have to bear in mind, how fast a peace might be destroyed and how long we need for its re-establishment.
The workshop on historical memory is a traditional topic for “Europe Lab”: Its predecessor – the “Pilorama Lab” Forum – was held in 2012 at the Memorial Centre of Political Repression “Perm 36” in Russia. Another connection to “Perm 36” was corresponded by a private screening of Sergei Kachkin’s new documentary about the former detention site for political prisoners. Finally, the participants had a chance to visit the Ovčara Mass Grave nearby Vukovar as well as the Jasenovac Concentration Camp Memorial Site.
Further workshops were devoted to refugees (led by Ralph du Long from UNITED for Intercultural Action, Netherlands); media (led by Veronika Menjoun from the Fojo Media Institute, Sweden); social entrepreneurship (led by Anastasia Gulyavina from the Impact Hub Moscow, Russia). 
Three most frequently mentioned keywords of speakers at the opening were dialogue, courage, and complexity of topics, – highlights Barbara Anna Bernsmeier, ”Europe Lab” Project Coordinator at the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum. – And indeed: Our participants showed that they were open for cooperation in spite of any political or other circumstances between their countries, were courageous enough to take the challenge for working in not necessarily favourable environments and were not searching for easy replies to complex questions. Now we are looking forward to inspiring project proposals by young professionals, which should have been submitted by 15 August 2016.
In particular, the participants were interested in such issues as legal aid to refugees, Ukrainian-Russian relations, mentoring in social entrepreneurship, stories from the Balkan Wars of 1991-2001, ways of work with NGOs from Russia, and others.
A competent jury will have selected best projects by September 2016. Afterwards, the results of the projects will be presented at the 7th General Assembly of the EU-Russia Civil Society Forum on 1-3 February 2017 in Helsinki, Finland.