Kick_Off Conference Western Balkans 2 EU: A Reality Check for EU Enlargement

EU enlargement has not been amongst the top priorities in Europe recently. The COVID-19 pandemic is dominating the political agenda and delaying internal reforms. At the same time the countries of the Western Balkans are struggling with additional problems. Democracies are under pressure, the rule of law is weakened and the current health and economic crises further complicates the search for renewed energies and optimism.

What challenges lie ahead for the EU and its closest neighbours on the Western Balkans? Why is it so complicated to strengthen the rule of law in these countries? And how to encourage and strengthen their European perspective?


23rd March 14:30 – 16:00

“New perspectives on rule of law and justice – Where do we stand and what do we need?”

Márta Pardavi, Co-Chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee
Nedim Hogić, PhD Candidate Sant’ Anna School of Advanced Studies
Sofija Mandić, Secretary General Judicial Research Center (CEPRIS)

24th of March 16:00 – 17:00

“How to get EU enlargement back on track? Prioritising rule of law and
judicial reform.”

Katarina Barley, Vice President of the European Parliament
Nikola Dimitrov, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs of North Macedonia
Karoline Edtstadler, Federal Minister for EU and Constitution of Austria
Jovana Marović, Executive Director of Politikon Network in Montenegro

Vedran Džihić, Senior Researcher, Austrian Institute for International Politics and Lecturer University of Vienna
Paul Schmidt, Secretary General, Austrian Society for European Politics