Western Balkans

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Panel Discussion

Western Balkans: EU enlargement – Is pretending the name of the game?

5 September, 16.00 – 17.30, Hotel Golf, Jupiter Hall

It should have been clear by now that it is in the EU’s strategic interest that the enlargement process has no alternative, as the Western Balkan countries are surrounded by EU Member States. The European Union must be the actor in the region, setting an example, offering opportunities, cooperation, connectivity, support and, when necessary, facilitation.

Last December, the Union failed to agree on the Council’s traditional conclusions on enlargement. Additionally, this year, the European Commission will not publish its annual enlargement reports. Such inaction could easily be interpreted as a reflection of the lack of the EU’s interest in continuing the enlargement dynamics.

Despite the engagement of many experts and many regional processes and initiatives, we are witnessing a lack of implementation of agreements. This may be a consequence of the fractured relations in the region, the internal political situation in individual countries, the situation in the EU, and the slow pace of the enlargement process.


  • H.E. Mr Ditmir Bushati, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania
  • H.E. Mr Igor Crnadak, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • H.E. Mr Ivica Dačić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Serbia
  • H.E. Prof. Dr Srdjan Darmanović, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro
  • Mr Walter Deffaa, Commissioner Crețu’s special adviser, European Commission
  • H.E. Mr Nikola Dimitrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia
  • Mr Pierre Heilbronn, Vice President, Policy and Partnerships at EBRD
  • Mr Thomas Mayr-Harting, Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia at the European External Action Service
  • Mr Valon Murtezaj, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kosovo
  • H.E. Ms Marija Pejčinović Burić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia
  • Mr Hoyt Brian Yee, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, US Department of State

Keynote listener:

  • Mr Milan Nič, Senior Fellow at German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), Slovakia

Moderator: Mr Gerald Knaus, Founding Chairman of the European Stability Initiative, Germany

To download the session backgrounder click here.

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