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Event

Event

ECR Western Balkans Summit

Europe as a Civilisational Choice

On Tuesday 29 March and Wednesday 30 March 2022, the ECR Group will host recognised experts in the fields of security, economy, democratisation and European integration, as well as current and former decision-makers from the Western Balkans region, for the Summit: ‘Western Balkans – Europe as a civilisational choice’. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo and Serbia all have a prospect to join the European Union. The summit will focus on the issues of foreign interference and disinformation, and the processes of EU enlargement and integration as opportunities for countries in the region to face up to current challenges - all this in the context of the ongoing debate on the future of Europe.

The first panel will carry out a general assessment of the state of play with regards to foreign interference and disinformation. Situated at the geopolitical crossroads between Europe and Asia, the Western Balkan countries are prone to being exposed to foreign disinformation campaigns due to the overlapping interests of external powers. The region is constantly facing explicit acts of political pressure from countries like Russia, China, Iran and others. Any attempt to destabilise today’s fragile political balance poses a threat not only to the Western Balkans, but to the EU as well.

In the second panel, experts will discuss EU enlargement as an opportunity to overcome the challenges faced by the region. The Western Balkans are undeniably an integral part of Europe - culturally, historically and geographically. On the other hand, years after the first countries applied for EU accession, the process has stalled. What are the main obstacles? What benefits would come of granting EU membership to the Western Balkan countries? What would be the impact on the future of Europe, in terms of geopolitics and security, economy, culture and demography?

Speakers will try to define the role that Western Balkans countries might play in the future of Europe.

Europe is not just the European Union, and nor should these two terms be used synonymously. The ECR Group believes that we should use the opportunity offered by the Conference on the Future of Europe to make the voice of all Europeans heard.

Live-streamed in English, on the ECR Group’s YouTube and Twitter channels, the broadcast will feature ECR Group Co-Chairmen Prof Ryszard Legutko and Raffaele Fitto; President of the ECR Institutional Policy Working Group Prof Zdzisław Krasnodębski; ECR MEPs Angel Dzhambazki, Lars Patrick Berg, Assita Kanko and Ladislav Ilcic; and distinguished guests: Ms Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council and former Minister of European Integration of Albania; Mr Haki Abazi MP Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora; and Ms Zorka Kordić, Chief Negotiator for the EU Accession of Montenegro.

Programme

Opening: Tuesday 29 March @ 16:30 CET

  • ECR Co-Chairman Raffaele Fitto MEP
  • Prof Zdzisław Krasnodębski MEP, Chair of the ECR Working Group on Institutional Reform
  • Mr Angel Dzhambazki MEP, Chair, ECR Working Group on Western Balkans

Panel I: ‘Foreign interference and disinformation in the Western Balkans’

Introductory remarks

  • Ms Zorka Kordić, Chief Negotiator for the EU Accession of Montenegro
  • Mr Angel Dzhambazki MEP, Chair, ECR Working Group on Western Balkans

Expert discussion

  • Mr Milan Jovanović, Analyst, Digital Forensic Research Center, Montenegro
  • Mr Drizan Shala, National Security Expert, Institute for the Rapprochement of Inter-Ethnic Relations in Kosovo
  • Ms Dominika Cosić, journalist and author, TVP correspondent in Brussels
  • Mr Lars Patrick Berg MEP
  • Mr Angel Dzhambazki MEP, Chair, ECR Working Group on Western Balkans

Panel II: ‘EU enlargement process as an opportunity to counter the challenges in the Western Balkans’: Wednesday 30 March @ 10:00 CET

Introductory remarks

  • Ms Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General, Regional Cooperation Council
  • Prof Zdzisław Krasnodębski MEP, Chair of the ECR Working Group on Institutional Reform

Expert discussion

  • Dr Anton Panchev, Department of Balkan Studies, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”
  • Mr Haki Abazi MP, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Assembly of the Republic of Kosovo
  • Mr Gjergji Vurmo, Program Director, Institute for Mediation and Democracy, Albania
  • Ms Assita Kanko MEP, Member of the European Parliament Foreign Affairs Committee, ECR Shadow Rapporteur on Albania
  • Mr Ladislav Ilcić MEP, Member of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo

Closing remarks: Wednesday @ 11:15 CET

  • ECR Co-Chairman Prof Ryszard Legutko, MEP
  • Prof Zdzisław Krasnodębski MEP, Chair of the ECR Working Group on Institutional Reform
  • Mr Angel Dzhambazki MEP, Chair, ECR Working Group on Western Balkans

The show will be hosted by Milena Milotinova, presenter of the “Brussels 1 TV Show”, BULGARIA ON AIR TV.

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