Panel Discussion at Croatian Embassy Explores EU Enlargement for Western Balkans

Insights on the Risks and Opportunities Presented by EU Expansion

April 12th, 2024
Snejana Melnic, News from Berlin
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In collaboration with the German think tank “Young Security Conference” (YSC), the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia in Berlin hosted a panel discussion on Thursday, 21st March 2024, focusing on the risks and opportunities associated with the European Union’s enlargement to include the Western Balkan states.

The distinguished panel, comprising CDU Bundestag member Knut Abraham, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and a former diplomat; SPD politician and diplomat Hannah Elten; and Marina Vulović, a scientist from the Science and Politics Foundation (SWP), brought a wealth of expertise to the discussion. Moritz Flößler of YSC skillfully moderated the event, with Ambassador Gordan Bakota opening the proceedings and extending a warm welcome to the numerous attendees.

Ambassador Bakota, in his opening remarks, emphasized the significance of EU enlargement for Croatia’s foreign policy, particularly highlighting Croatia’s support for the Western Balkans’ integration into the EU. He stressed the importance of the European Council’s decision to commence accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina, viewing it as both an achievement for Bosnia and Herzegovina and a testament to Croatia’s unwavering support for the region’s European aspirations.

Throughout the discussion, panelists and guests engaged in a vibrant dialogue on the EU enlargement process’s pivotal role in ensuring the stability and advancement of the EU’s neighboring countries. They deliberated on the necessity for candidate countries to commit unequivocally to European values through reforms and alignment with the EU’s foreign and security policies, thereby hastening their journey towards EU membership.

Adhering to the “Chatham House” rules, the event fostered an engaging and open exchange of views among panelists and participants, enriching the discourse on this crucial subject.

The partnership with YSC was especially noteworthy as it bridges young professionals with politicians, experts, and scientists, fostering innovative ideas in security policy. Through panels, workshops, and publications on international relations, YSC has established a platform for constructive discussions, making complex topics more accessible to young professionals and the wider audience.


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