- November 21, 2018
To round up the annual Working Group Southeast Europe, the Aspen Institute Germany held a public evening event on “Roadblocks on the Way to EU Enlargement – How Can the Reform Processes in the Western Balkans Be Reenergized?”. While the EU enlargement strategy clearly spells out that the EU’s door is open to further accessions, it underlines the specific challenges the Western Balkans have to address and emphasizes the need for fundamental reforms. At the same time, progress of the Western Balkan countries in the accession process has been limited in the past years and the question remains how this can be reinvigorated. Dr. Christian Hellbach, Director for South-Eastern Europe, Turkey and the EFTA States at the Federal Foreign Office and Genoveva Ruiz Calavera, Western Balkans Director in the European Commission’s DG NEAR, discussed this with high-level government representatives from the Western Balkans Six. The discussion was moderated by Rüdiger Lentz, Director of the Aspen Institute, and tackled various topics. Among others, the EU accession prospects for the region, the name agreement between Macedonia and Greece, the election results of Bosnia and Herzegovina and solutions for a normalization agreement between Kosovo and Serbia were discussed. The exchange turned out to be very lively, stressing the need for increased reform efforts, cooperation and willingness to compromise within the region.