- May 31, 2017
The Eighth Aspen Southeast Europe Foreign Ministers Conference took place on May 31, 2017 in cooperation with the German Office of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of the Czech Republic. The conference began with confidential discussions on regional cooperation, economic development and democratization between regional foreign ministers; senior representatives from the German and Czech governments; and members of parliament. These off-the-record discussions were followed by a public event in the afternoon which opened with a panel discussion on economic development in the Western Balkans. Panel topics included successful economic models and reform programs; the question of whether current growth models are sustainable; and current economic challenges for the region such as the brain drain, education, infrastructure, and competitiveness. This was followed by the headline Foreign Ministers’ panel on “Euro-Atlantic Integration in Times of Crises” which was opened by Jakub Dürr, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic, and German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel. Minister Gabriel used the conference to highlight Germany’s commitment to the European future of the region and to promote a greater joint European engagement in the Western Balkans and the initiation of further funds for financial support for the development of the region.