Conference on ‘Ten Years After Thessaloniki: An appraisal of the EU perspective and challenges in the Western Balkans’, the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) and the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union, Dublin
On 24 May, the IIEA and the Irish Presidency of the Council of the European Union hosted a high-level conference to mark the tenth anniversary of the EU-Western Balkans summit in Thessaloniki. At this summit in 2003 a firm commitment was made to the countries of the region that ‘the future of the Balkans is within the European Union’. The Thessaloniki Agenda continues to shape the EU’s relations with the region, although the euro crisis and the consequent focus on institutional change within the Union pose significant challenges for the future of enlargement to the Western Balkans. This conference reflected on the progress made over the last ten years, the difficulties encountered and the outlook for the completion of the project.
The conference was hosted by Ireland’s Minister for European Affairs, Lucinda Creighton, TD, and opened by the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore TD. Other speakers included Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Füle; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Croatia, Vesna Pusic; and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia, Dr. Miroslav Lajcák.
Videos, speech transcripts and podcasts of the conference are now available on the IIEA website.