Thinking and Shaping New Balkans in 2018: Navigating the ship between old challenges and new paradigms for the future


Veranstaltung, Summary 03.05.2018



Only a few years after the European Council in Thessaloniki in 2003 had strongly confirmed the perspective of EU integration for the Western Balkans, the EU enlargement process entered a phase of fatigue and political stalemate. Even though the technical process was kept on track and the EU Commission made large efforts to speed up the EU integration of the region, the new Commission under Jean-Claude Juncker underlined in 2014 that no enlargement would happen within the next five years. However, pressured by the looming democratic and economic crisis in the Western Balkans as well as the return of the geopolitical power struggle to the region, it was obvious that a new momentum for enlargement would have to be created in order to fill the EU perspective for the region with life. 2018 has been frequently described as the „year of hope“ for EU enlargement and for the Balkans.

In February 2018, a new Enlargement Strategy was presented in Strasbourg by the EU Commission. Bulgaria, currently having the Presidency of the Council of the EU, has organized a major Balkan’s Summit in May 2018. Austria, for a long time one of the most prominent promoters of the EU Enlargement for the Western Balkans and a country deeply intertwined with the region, will assume the EU presidency in the second half of 2018 and place the Western Balkans among the priorities. The conference discussed the current state of the EU enlargement, the numerous challenges in the process as well as future prospective  of the region, and above all the future of youth in the Balkans.

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16:00 Welcome
Wolfgang Bogensberger, Deputy Head of the European Commission Representation in Austria
Hannes Swoboda, President of the International Institute for Peace (IIP), MEP ret.
Gerhard Marchl, Karl-Renner-Institut, Department for European Politics

16:20 Keynote
Michael Karnitschnig, Chief of Cabinet of Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations

16:45 Panel I: EU-Enlargement refreshed vs. old and new geopolitical challenges (Russia, Turkey, China)

Adi Cerimagic, European Stability Initiative
Richard Grieveson, Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw)
Michael Karnitschnig, Chief of Cabinet of Commissioner Hahn
Thomas Mühlmann, Federal Mistry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria, Deputy Director, South Eastern Europe and EU Enlargement
Vuk Velebit, Faculty of Political Sciences, Belgrade
Alida Vracic, Populari, Sarajevo
Vedran Dzihic, Senior Researcher at the oiip and Lecturer at the University of Vienna

19:00 Panel II: New Paradigm? Youth and civil society forces shaping New Balkans
Samir Beharic, oiip, Global Studies, Global History Program, University Vienna
Mirza Buljubasic, Socialist Youth Austria Lower Austria
Dona Kosturanova, Youth Educational Form, Skopje
Mario Mazic, Youth Initiative for Human Rights, Zagreb
Aulonë Memeti, DOIT, Priština
Dafina Peci, National Youth Congress, Tirana
Senada Selo-Sabic, Institute for Development and International Relations, Zagreb
Hannes Swoboda, President of the International Institute for Peace (IIP), MEP ret.

The event will be held in English.

Refreshments will be served after the event.

Thursday, May 3rd 2018, 16.00 to 21.00


House of the European Union
Wipplingerstraße 35, 1010 Vienna


In Cooperation with the International Institute for Peace (IIP) and the Karl-Renner-Institut, with kind support of the European Parliament and the European Commission.