Where: Hall 8, National Palace of Culture, Sofia
When: Wednesday, 16 May 2018, 12.00 – 19.00
Creating a Region of Growth, Security and Connectivity on the Path to Europe

On 16 May 2018,  the Bulgarian presidency, the EU institutions, governments from the Western Balkans and European Movement representatives will hold a forum for dialogue in Sofia, Bulgaria.

With the European Commission’s new strategy for the Western Balkans,  the countries of the region were given a fresh perspective for joining the Union. The 2025 horizon is a new chance for the region to complete all the necessary reforms. The EU needs to start discussing and communicating this new opportunity not only to policymakers, but also with societies in the region and across the EU. Citizens have a role to play by motivating their governments to implement reforms in the next 5-7 years.  That is why one of the main tasks of the EU should be to start a vivid dialogue with the societies in the Western Balkans: media, analysts, NGO activists and opinion makers, and to facilitate their participation in the process.


12:00 – 13:00
Registration and working lunch

13:00- 14:10

  • Boyko Borissov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria (tbc)
  • Andrej PlenkovicPrime minister of Croatia (tbc)
  • Manfred Weber, Chair of  the EPP Group in EP (tbc)
  • Eva Maydell MEP, President of the European Movement International
  • Mikuláš Dzurinda, WMCES President, former Prime Minister of Slovakia (1998-2006)

14:10 – 15:45
Roundtable I: EU Perspective for the Western Balkans

Short impulses from :

  • Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (tbc)
  • Ekaterina Zaharieva, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria
  • Nikola Dimitrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (tbc)
  • Maja Bobic, European Movement, Serbia

Active interactions from:

  • Remzi Lani, Executive director of the Albanian Media Institute
  • Alida Vracic, Executive Director of Think Tank Populari
  • Jovan Teokarević, Director of the Belgrade Centre for European Integration, Open Society Foundation in Serbia
  • Andreja Stojkovski, Media representative and political analyst, FYROM
  • Nikolaos Tzifakis – Research Associate, Wilfried Martens Centre for European Studies
  • Sonja Licht, President of the Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence

Moderator: Vessela Tcherneva, ECFR’s Deputy Director and Head of ECFR Sofia Office

Coffee Break

16:00 – 17:30
Roundtable II: EU-Western Balkans connectivity

Short impulses from:

  • Lіlуana Pavlova, Mіnіѕter for the Bulgarіan Preѕіdenсу of the Counсіl of the EU 2018
  • Rosen Pleveliev, President of Bulgaria (2012-2017)
  • Erion Veliaj, Mayor of Tirana
  • Fiona McIlwham, Western Balkans Director FCO

Active interactions from:

  • Filip Radunovic, GIZ
  • Vesselin Valkanov, Head of RCC Brussels office
  • Andi Dobrushi, Executive director OSF Albania
  • Veton Latifi, Professor, South-east European University, Tetovo

Moderator: Eva Maydell MEP, President of the European Movement International

17:30 – 17:40
Concluding remarks


This event receives financial support from the European Parliament.