The Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group
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27 Apr, 2019

Western Balkans: Managing Challenges Ahead

What will the next decade look like for the Western Balkans? Although the prospective 2025 EU enlargement remains in place, the actual fulfilment of that promise remains elusive. While the rise of populism and related uncertainty about its institutional design have fostered a sense of enlargement fatigue in Brussels, the EU’s is still perceived as the desired endgame for the Western Balkans. Sporadic recalcitrance that emanates from Brussels is opening the doors to competing regional powers to set foot in the region and derail the Europeanisation process. How significant is (and will be) the EU’s transformative power in the region? How will the region respond to emerging security challenges? Has the region found an adequate manner to resolve its lingering and residual conflicts from the past, on its own, or will the EU remain a designated mediator? Experts from the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) and School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) will address these issues, in an engaging and open discussion.


8:30 – 9:00: Registration

9:00 – 9:45
Welcome remarks:
 Daniel Serwer, Director of the Conflict Management Program (SAIS) and Igor Bandovic, Senior Programme Manager, European Fund for the Balkans

Keynote Address
Florian Bieber
 – Coordinator of the BiEPAG. Professor of Southeast European History and Politics and Director of the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, Austria

Discussant: Daniel Serwer, Director, Conflict Management Program, SAIS

9:45 – 10:45 Panel: The European future for the Western Balkans 

  • Srdjan Cvijic, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society European Policy Institute, Brussels
  • Mirna Vlasic Feketija, Minister-Counselor, Political Affairs, Embassy of the Republic of Croatia to the United States (tbc)
  • Jovana Marovic, Executive Director, Politikon, Podgorica, Montenegro
  • Sasha Toperich, Senior Executive Vice President of the Transatlantic Leadership Network (Moderator)

10:45 – 11:00 Break

11:00 – 12:00 Panel: Managing (Overdue) Conflicts in the Western Balkans 

  • Zoran Nechev, Senior Researcher, Institute for Democracy ”Societas Civilis”, Skopje, North Macedonia
  • Majda Ruge, Foreign Policy Institute, SAIS
  • Ed Joseph, Foreign Policy Institute, SAIS (Moderator)


12:00 – 13:00 Panel: Security Challenges in the Western Balkans: Foreign Interference, Refugees, and Radical Extremism

  • Tena Prelec, Research Associate, LSE European Institute, London, UK
  • Tanja Dramac JiriesProgram Officer at the National Endowment for Democracy, portfolio on Bosnia and Serbia
  • Moderator: Sinisa Vukovic, Associate Director, Conflict Management, SAIS
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