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.

10.30 Registration
11.00 WELCOME AND KEYNOTE OPENING SESSION            Türkan Karakurt, Director, Office of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation 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


            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