During the conference “From Thessaloniki to Sofia and Beyond: Heading towards a Credible European Enlargement towards the Western Balkans?” (Rome, 6 June 2018), European experts analysed the current situation in the Western Balkans (WB6), namely Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Albania and the North Macedonia, as well as the future of EU–WB6 relationship. The complex and multidimensional nature of the current global and European context makes cooperation between the two blocks a difficult endeavour. However, the region is already substantially integrated in the EU’s “orbit” with regard to many aspects of their mutual relationship – from trade relations to cultural ties. After a brief overview of the European Commission’s new strategy for the Western Balkans, the conference focused on the EU and WB6 national perspectives on the enlargement debate. The concluding section provided input on how to improve the EU–WB6 relationship, and on what measures should be implemented in order to make the enlargement process a win–win deal for all concerned parties.
Report of the conference “From Thessaloniki to Sofia and Beyond: Heading towards a Credible European Enlargement towards the Western Balkans?” organized in Rome on 6 June 2018 by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI) in cooperation with the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR) and the European Fund for the Balkans (EFB).
Panel I – The Commission’s strategy for the Western Balkans: moving towards a credible integration
Panel II – National perspectives on the Western Balkans: is there a politicization of the accession process?
Panel III – Revamping democracy against institutional fragility: a WB6 assessment