EU ENLARGEMENT: 20 YEARS SINCE THESSALONIKI - June of this year marks the twenty-year anniversary of the 2003 Thessaloniki Summit, where EU member states and acceding countries from across Central Europe confirmed that “the future of the Balkans is within the European Union.” EU leaders committed to the eventual membership of all Western Balkan countries and launched a number of initiatives to support their reforms and integration. Twenty years later, only Croatia has entered the Union. The processes of accession and even candidacy of the other remaining Western Balkan countries have been beset by various obstacles and challenges, with little significant progress. In 2022, the granting of EU membership candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has brought new urgency to the conversation around the enlargement process.
This panel discussion is an opportunity to understand how to reinvigorate discussions about the EU enlargement agenda in European capitals and what role is there for Southeastern Europe in that process amidst Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine and instability in the Western Balkans. Additionally, the event offers insights into how the process of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans can inform and improve the process for Ukraine and Moldova as the latest candidate countries.
ORIGINAL AIRDATE: 6/29/23