The Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and the Bled Strategic Forum (BSF) organize the panel discussion titled “Western Balkans and the EU Enlargement 2030: Dream or reality?” which will assess the current state of EU enlargement policy, particularly in light of recent developments shifting focus towards Eastern European nations.

Despite progress made by some Western Balkan countries like North Macedonia, and Albania, challenges persist, including unresolved issues such as the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, the need for structural reforms, and political elites’ reluctance to enact change. While there’s verbal support for enlargement from European politicians and concrete initiatives like the New Growth Plan for the Western Balkans, questions remain regarding the process’s direction, necessary institutional changes within the EU, budget implications, sequencing, and revival of reform momentum in the region. The event aims to explore these complexities and propose strategies for advancing the enlargement agenda effectively.

The distinguished speakers of the panel will aim to answer a series of questions on the near-term expectations regarding the EU’s engagement with the Western Balkans, considering the potential impact of the accelerated accession processes of Ukraine, Moldova, and Georgia. Furthermore, they delve into the readiness of Western Balkan nations to meet the criteria for accessing additional funds under the New Growth Plan. Addressing key outstanding regional issues and effectively limiting the influence of third actors are crucial aspects to be discussed. Ultimately, the focus will also be on how both the EU and the Western Balkans can collaborate to translate the envisioned “Bled Pledge” into reality by 2030.

The event will be held in English.

You may find the agenda here.

R.S.V.P. by March 8th by filling in the online form here.