The Commandant of the Austrian National Defence Academy, Lieutenant General Erich Csitkovits, welcomed the participants in Reichenau on 23 May 2014. He talked about the success and legacy of this Study Group since 1999 as well as the importance that experts will assess the developments in the post-conflict area and can provide recommendations to their international stakeholders. He especially commemorated the victims of the flood disaster in the Western Balkans during these days: "On behalf of the Austrian people I would like to express our deep solidarity and our continued readiness to provide support. The Austrian Government has already provided financial support, there is a donation campaign going on and Austrian firefighters as well as soldiers are in the region to help the population."
The key note speech was held by Professor Peter Burnell, professor for Politics and International Studies at the University of Warwick, Coventry. His deliberations on the scientific models of democratization laid the grounds for the following discussions focusing on the practical implications of party politics. The objectives of this meeting are to analyze the role of political parties in supporting intra-state, regional and European consolidation. The guiding question is to what extent political parties contribute to democratic reforms and what their impact on improving regional relations is.