The Hague Institute for Global Justice, The European Fund for the Balkans, The Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group, and the Austrian Embassy to the Netherlands jointly organised the panel discussion “What the Refugee Crisis Reveals about EU Integration of the Western Balkans” on 20th of November, 2015.
The refugee crisis dominates the policy debates on the Western Balkans today. While there are sound and pressing reasons for this, the all-important European perspective of a region where Europe can make all the difference, must not be neglected.
The panel composed of the following policy makers and experts, Mr. Simon Mordue
(Director for Strategy and Turkey, DG for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission), Mr. Thijs van der Plas, (Deputy Director General for European Cooperation, the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs), Dr. Florian Bieber (Director of the Centre for Southeast European Studies, the University of Graz), Ms. Hedvig Morvai (Director of the European Fund for the Balkans) moderated by Mr. Nikola Dimitrov (Distinguished Fellow at The Hague Institute), took stock of the state of the European integration of the countries in the region in the aftermath of the 2015 European Commission Progress Reports. Inter alia, they also addressed the need to include the W.B. Countries in finding a solution to the refugee flows and the risks of this issues in regard of the long term negative repercussions on bilateral relations-border regimes for the WB.
The question whether the enlargement process driven by Brussels has become too technical rather than transformative and the need to not overlook domestic reforms for the sake of geostrategic convenience were also included, as well as the Berlin process as a format.