The European Union has been facing serious challenges, both internal and external. While a new reflection on the future of Europe has been initiated, much remains to be done to rediscover the reasons underlying the European integration process in the first place, rejuvenate the European project and make it again a higher source of inspiration for the citizens of Europe. With a new European Parliament and a new Commission to come, there could not be a better timing for this reflection to be intensified, both in the EU and the Western Balkans.
In the Western Balkans, new opportunities have been created with the Berlin Process, an initiative launched in 2014 to stimulate connectivity and regional cooperation. Accession, for some countries of the region, might be in sight, but it is barely in reach. How can the EU make its approach more effective, when progress in terms of good governance, democracy, reconciliation, economic development or good neighbourly relations, show worrisome regressions, both in the region and the EU? What contribution can the Berlin Process make to the European integration of the region?
And how can the Western Balkans contribute to the making of a stronger, “ever-closer” Europe? How can they contribute to the debates on the future of Europe?
These and many other questions will be the starting point of the public discussion organised on the occasion of the opening of the 4th Western Balkans Reflection Forum on 16th October 2019 in Zagreb.
Nataša Owens, President, Europe House Zagreb
Ognian Zlatev, Head of the Representation of the European Commission to Croatia
Robert Klinke, Ambassador of Germany to the Republic of Croatia
Nikolina Brnjac, State Secretary for Cooperation with the European Parliament, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia
Senada Šelo-Šabić, Senior Research Associate, Institute for Development and International Relations, Zagreb
11.45 PANEL DISCUSSION
Krisela Hackaj, Executive Director, Cooperation and Development Institute, Tirana Christophe Hillion, Research professor, Norwegian Institute of International Affairs; Professor, Universities of Leiden & Gothenburg
Vedran Džihić, Senior Researcher, Austrian Institute for International Politics, Vienna
Peter Grk, Secretary General of the Bled Strategic Forum
Florent Marciacq, Deputy Secretary General, Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe; Senior Fellow, Centre international de formation européenne
13.15 End of the public event followed by a Reception