Under the title “The Western Balkans in the European Union: Perspectives of a region in Europe?”, the 2nd edition of the Reflection Forum was held in Trieste on 26-27 June, gathering experts working in national and European administrations and institutions, researchers affiliated with European think-tanks and universities from 25 EU and Western Balkan countries.

On Day 1 the participants took part in the academic roundtable at the MIB Trieste School of Management: “The Western Balkans in the European Union: Perspectives of a region in Europe?”.
The official opening took place at the Palazzo della Regione, Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region in Trieste with the participation of Debora Serracchiani, President of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Autonomous Region; Margot Klestil-Löffler, CEI Alternate Secretary General; Tanja Fajon, Member of the European Parliament; Ferdinando Nelli Feroci, President of the IAI and Michele Giacomelli, Special Envoy of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The main event was organised on Day 2, at the CEI Headquarters, where  the participants took part in a lively debate offering a valuable occasion to exchange ideas, experiences, reflections about enlargement and the future of the EU. 

The discussions focused on the following main topics:
  • Regional tensions and bilateral conflicts in the Western Balkans: how regional tensions become European problems?;
  • Internal & regional security: going beyond the repressive security cooperation?
  • Investing in infrastructures & knowledge: Escaping the gendered-economy trap?
The event was opened by CEI Alternate Secretary General, Amb. Margot Klestil-Löffler, who underlined that “The European integration of the Western Balkan countries remains on the top of our Agenda. We strongly believe the European Union will not be complete until the Western Balkan countries join the European community. The Balkans are part of Europe, the people of the Balkans are Europeans and they deserve to enjoy European rights and opportunities”.

The participants reaffirmed and emphasised the need for a stronger impact of the civil society on the  EU enlargement process. In this respect, a series of outreach events as panel discussions throughout the European Union and the Western Balkans will follow in 2017-2018 in order to nourish the dialogue on this topic.

The Reflection Forum was organised by the Istituto Affari Internazionali (IAI), Rome; the Centre international de formation européenne (CIFE), Nice/Berlin/Istanbul; the Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe (CFA/ÖFZ), Vienna; in cooperation with a number of relevant institutions and organisations.

The report of the event will be available soon.
  • Programme available HERE.
SEE ALSO:   *** In 2014, the Federal Chancellor of Germany launched an intergovernmental process with the countries of the Western Balkans. Its aim is to improve cooperation throughout the region and thereby reinvigorate European integration. The first conference, organised in Berlin, was followed by one in Vienna in 2015 and one in Paris in 2016. A fourth conference will be convened in Trieste, on 12 July 2017. A parallel series of conferences and meetings has been initiated by CIFE, CFA/ÖFZ, IAI and IFRI, together with other institutions, in order to encourage a European dialogue amongst think tanks and academic institutes on the Western Balkans and their European perspective.




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