Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President, argued that European Council’s failure last October to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia was a great “historic error”. Allegedly, without a concrete plan for EU enlargement towards the Western Balkans, the region might fall into nationalism and the negative influence of other non-Western actors, such as Russia, China, Turkey and the Gulf countries. This event will try to assess the aftermath of this decision and the complex geopolitical challenges lying ahead for the EU in the Western Balkans. Florian Bieber and Nikolaos Tzifakis will present the findings of a BiEPAG policy brief and an academic study concerning the Influence of External non-Western Actors in the Western Balkans. Additionally, Igor Merheim-Eyre will present an International Republican Institute’s public opinion and media-monitoring survey about the key concerns of citizens across the region, their perceptions of extra-regional actors and the narratives present in the media space of the countries.
Registration will open and a light lunch will be served as of 12:30.