VIENNA – The Western Balkans to EU Network (WB2EU) will organize a new discussion on enlargement policy under the title “Is EU enlargement back on track?” Towards a democratic and united Europe.
Following the three-year project of the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet network on Europeanization, democratization and strengthening of civil society in the Western Balkans, the event will discuss current developments, obstacles and prospects for the enlargement of the EU and the reform process.
“With Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, the EU’s enlargement policy has taken on a whole new dynamic. Ukraine, Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina obtained candidate country status; Kosovo applied for membership and accession negotiations began with North Macedonia and Albania. Additionally, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gave new impetus to the debate in her State of the Union address, with the prospect of an “EU 30+”, organizers said .
They added that it is not only candidate countries that must meet the membership criteria, but the EU itself must also implement important reforms to be ready for enlargement.
“As EU members continue to weigh their geopolitical, national and institutional interests, Western Balkan countries are engaged in a long process of negotiation and reform,” the organizers added.
Paul SchmidtSecretary General of the Austrian Society for European Policy (ÖGfE) and Project Manager of the WB2EU project, and Alma Zadicthe Austrian Minister of Justice will deliver a speech at the start of the event.
The discussion panelists are Martin Selmayrhead of the representation of the European Commission in Austria, Jovana Marovic, Former Montenegrin Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of European Affairs and member of BiEPAG, Sofija Todorovićprogram director at the Youth Initiative for Human Rights (YIHR), Anna Krasteva, professor of political science at the European Center for Refugee, Migration and Ethnic Studies (CERMES). The discussion will be moderated by Vedran Džihićsenior researcher at the Austrian Institute of International Affairs (oiip) and coordinator of the WB2EU project.
The WB2EU project aims to establish a network of renowned think tanks, do-tanks, universities, higher education institutes and policy centers from the Western Balkans, neighboring countries and EU Member States that will be the most decisive for the process of enlargement and Europeanization of the European Union. region in the years to come. The WB2EU project is co-financed by the European Commission as part of its Erasmus+ Jean Monnet programme.