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Policy Forum: The Role of the European Union in the Western Balkans: Perspectives on the Enlargement Process

Key speakers

On 12 February 2015 the European Commission’s DG Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), in collaboration with the European Institute, organised a policy forum: The Role of the European Union in the Western Balkans: Perspectives on the Enlargement Process. The event took place at Europe House in Sofia. DG NEAR, in cooperation with partner organizations, held this policy forum as an information campaign in the Balkans to inform relevant stakeholders about the Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA), the new financial framework (IPA II) and the successful implementation of some selected projects in the Western Balkans.

The first session focused on the presentation of the role of the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) in the Balkans, while the second session deepened the Bulgarian perspective on co-operation. The key speakers at the first session were Mr Henk Visser from DG NEAR, Mr Eric Vincken, representing the consortium GIZ and Center for International Legal Cooperation dealing with the Regional Prosecutors Network project and Mr Ruslan Stefanov, Director of the Economic Program at the Center for the Study of Democracy, presenting the main findings and impact of the SELDI anti-corruption initiative. They provided a comprehensive overview of the work and the benefit that IPA provides to the West Balkans, and the EU as a whole. The second session featured mainly representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice: Mr. Vladimir Shopov, Advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of Bulgaria and Dr. Atanas Slavov, Advisor to the Minister of Justice, Republic of Bulgaria. Ms Maria Prohaska, Director of Centеr for Economic Development also shared her perspective of the Bulgarian cooperation in the framework of the EU assistance programmes.

The event attracted several high level invitees, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Daniel Mitov, Ambassadors of Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania as well as relevant civil society organizations. The Bulgarian authorities showed their support to the EU enlargement process, and stated their engagement on tackling the EU’s key concerns, notably corruption. The event was featured extensively in the media.

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