Bled – ESI moderating Western Balkans foreign ministers panel on EU enlargement

5 September 2017
"Western Balkans: EU enlargement – Is pretending the name of the game?". Video: Bled Strategic Forum

ESI's Gerald Knaus was invited to moderate a panel of Western Balkans foreign ministers and EU and US representatives debating the state of play of EU enlargement in the region.

Issues debated included: Are we facing a situation in which the enlargement policy is not contributing to stability and reconciliation in the region? Could this also be a result of internal EU decision-making processes? Does the EU require an honest debate on how to more proactively tackle the remaining regional open issues so as to prevent their influence on the accession process and to prevent them from possibly hindering the stability in the region? For how long can the current dissatisfaction on both sides continue; or is the new political modus operandi in fact pretending – pretending to follow an open door policy, pretending to reform, pretending to wish to join the EU?


  • H.E. Mr Ditmir Bushati, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania
  • H.E. Mr Igor Crnadak, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • H.E. Mr Ivica Dačić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • of the Republic of Serbia
  • H.E. Prof. Dr Srdjan Darmanović, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro
  • H.E. Ms Marija Pejčinović Burić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia
  • H.E. Mr Nikola Dimitrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia
  • Mr Thomas Mayr-Harting, European Commission, Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia
  • Mr Pierre Heilbronn, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Vice President, Policy and Partnerships
  • Mr Walter Deffaa, European Commission, special adviser to Commissioner Crețu
  • Mr Hoyt Brian Yee, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs
  • Mr Milan Nič, German Association for Foreign Policy, Senior Fellow