First meeting of the Friends of the Western Balkans

How do we get out of the dead end in the enlargement process?

Sarajevo hosts the first ‘Friends of the Western Balkans’ meeting – a newly established network of social-democratic Members of Parliaments and Members of the European Parliament from across Europe, aiming to revitalise the EU Enlargement to the Western Balkans. In the two days, the MPs and MEPs will exchange a multitude of opinions, attitudes, and approaches to what the future of the enlargement process should be like – with the hope of establishing a common perspective on how to advocate for it.

The enlargement process has lost credibility on all fronts – and the Western Balkan countries are stuck in different “waiting rooms “while the EU member states hesitate and procrastinate. Yet, the Ukrainian war proved again how important it is to strengthen democratic forces across the continent, in a progress-oriented agenda. And, ideally, the EU enlargement to the Western Balkan region is at the forefront of these developments.

Against this backdrop – organisers the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Dialogue Southeast Europe, Renner Institut, Masarykova demokratická Akademie, Kalevi Sorsa Foundation, Fondation Jean-Jaurès, Foundation Max van der Stoel, Društvo Progresiva, Olof Palme International Center, in cooperation with CeSPIare hosting the first meeting of the Friends of the Western Balkans in hopes of bringing the productive and progressive thoughts on the Western Balkans together.

The event brought many politicians and experts together, from BiH MP Saša Magazinović to Josip Juratović (Germany), Thijs Reuten (Netherlands), Delara Burkhardt (Germany), Adnan Dibrani (Sweden), and many others. The political representatives exchanged their opinions and engaged with expert inputs from think tanks and academics from Western Balkans and wider Southeast Europe.

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