New visions for the Western Balkans: EU accession and regional security
The EU-Western Balkans integration process is at a crossroads. The Russian invasion of Ukraine makes it imperative for the EU and the Western Balkans to reaffirm their strategic choice for a common European future and to work together to accelerate the enlargement process. The region’s progresses towards fundamental reforms and intra-regional and European integration today seem the only options to ensure peace, security and prosperity in this part of Europe. However, some challenges in the Western Balkans continue to weigh on the membership prospects of these countries. These obstacles are in particular linked to the still unresolved bilateral disputes, partial compliance with the Copenhagen accession criteria and still limited convergence towards EU’s socio-economic and environmental standards.
Against this backdrop, the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) and the Osservatorio Balcani Caucaso Transeuropa (OBCT), with the support of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and in the framework of the strategic partnership with Fondazione Compagnia di San Paolo, have organized the high-level closed-door conference: "New visions for the Western Balkans: EU accession and regional security". The event has taken place on April, 3-4th in Rome at the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Sala delle Conferenze Internazionali. The conference has been opened by Italian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Antonio Tajani, and Tobias Billström, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union. The meeting has included the participation of of the six Foreign Affairs Ministers from the Western Balkans, EU and Italian high-level policy makers as well as civil society representatives