Thessaloniki, 5-7 May 2006

The 7th workshop of FONSI was organized by ELIAMEP with the support of The German Marshall Fund of the United States, Washington DC, Eurobank EFG, Athens and The Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe, Thessaloniki Office. The underlying theme of the workshop was to critically discuss the actual and potential costs and benefits of the existing alternative and interim plans on the rapprochement of the Western Balkans towards the EU. It related equally to the financial, political and social costs of the current and the future state of affairs. Core questions included an assessment of the costs and benefits of the following:

  1. An EU and NATO enlargement versus maintaining a situation that is designed to first digest the impact of the new members and then prepare for the next wave of enlargement,
  2. An EU integration involving the inclusion of the Western Balkans,
  3. Proceeding with the necessary structural and market reforms, and
  4. Postponing enlargement in favour of a long term association status for Western Balkan countries.

It is with these questions and issues in mind that we conducted this workshop with the intention to open a candid exchange of ideas among influentials from the region, European Union member states and the United States. Participants were invited to offer policy recommendations as how to achieve a sustainable state of affairs. Through this initiative we aimed to canvass varying perspectives and to explore whether there is a basis for a consensus among domestic, regional and international actors.

Read the Programme, the List of participants, and the Report of the Workshop.