The Long Road to Europe: The Western Balkans between Domestic Challenges and Geopolitics
in Sarajevo, 16–18 March 2018
Just over two decades since the Dayton Accords, the Western Balkans remain a region that is both volatile and of vital political, economic and strategic interest to the European Union and beyond. While external actors seek to expand their influence in a region still beset by a legacy of authoritarianism and ethnic conflict, accession to the European Union is perceived as elusive by more and more people in the region. As both the Union and the region face increasingly difficult choices, there is an urgent need to inject new life into the debate about the European future of the Western Balkans.
From 16-18 March 2018, the participants of the167th Bergedorf Round Table - high-ranking politicians, civil servants, as well as intellectuals, publicists and members of civil society from the Western Balkans, relevant EU member states, Russia and the U.S. - explored the future of the region’s political structures and institutions, as well as its geopolitical and geoeconomic environment. How can the EU work with regional partners in the Western Balkans, both to achieve greater economic and political coherence and to strengthen pro-European actors? Which policies are other international actors, such as Russia, China and Turkey pursuing in the Western Balkans, and how should the EU respond?
The 167th Bergedorf Round Table was opened by Igor Crnadak, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ditmir Bushati, Foreign Minister of Albania, Ivica Dacic, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia, Srdjan Darmanovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro, and Nikola Dimitrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Macedonia.
Photos: Körber-Stiftung/Vanja Lisac