In cooperation with
"The EU and the Balkans at the End of the Second Decade of the 21st Century"
An International Conference
University of the Peloponnese, Corinth, Greece 4-5 June 2018
Eleven years after Romania and Bulgaria became full EU members on the 1st of January 2007 and nearly fifteen years after the EU officially offered an ‘EU future’ to the remaining (Western) Balkan states with the adoption of the Thessaloniki Agenda in June 2003, EU relations with all the countries in this region remain ‘complex’ at best. Romania, Bulgaria and Croatia (so far the only Western Balkan state able to fulfil the tightened EU accession conditions since 2006, becoming the newest EU member in 2013), have been considered as somewhat ‘incomplete’ members of the EU which still need to work hard to reach the level of democratisation and socio-economic standards set by the ‘old’ EU members. Although the prospects for the acceleration of the (almost stalled) integration of several official candidates and two potential candidates for EU membership from the Western Balkans have considerably improved after the defeat of Euro-sceptic parties in the Dutch and particularly French elections in the first half of 2017, the ‘EU future’ of these countries remains uncertain as they still need to overcome many domestic (primarily political) challenges as well as the reluctance of large circle(s) of the EU’s political elite to accept the inevitability of their ‘EU future’. Moreover, pressured by a series of crises that since the early 2010s have negatively affected the prospects for further European integration, particularly Brexit, EU officials and political leaders have continued to postpone the final resolution to the sovereign debt crisis in Greece and seem to have forgotten that Erdogan’s Turkey is still an official candidate for EU membership.
The conference seeks to address the relationship between the EU and the political and socio-economic developments in the Balkan states from various anglεs. The following thematic topics are expected to be discussed in greater detail:
- The remaining challenges and obstacles to EU accession of the Western Balkan candidates and potential candidates for EU membership
- The EU's peace and statehood-building efforts in the Western Balkans – failures and achievements
- The EU’s Structural Funds in South-East Europe: the impact on governance
- ΕU pre-accession aid to the Western Balkans: lessons (not) learned
- Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia: new EU members with ‘Balkan problems’
- The EU and the (solution of the) Greek crisis
- Is Turkey still a candidate for EU membership?
Professor Ludger Kühnhardt, Zentrum für Europäische Integrationsforschung (ZEI)/ Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI), University of Bonn, Germany.
Dr. William Bartlett, Senior Research Fellow, European Institute, LSE, London, UK.
Dr. Nikolaos Tzifakis, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of the Peloponnese.
Dr. Milenko Petrovic, Jean Monnet Chair, Senior Lecturer Above the Bar, National Centre for Research on Europe, University of Canterbury.
Conference Programme Coordinators:
Thematic topics 1, 2 and 5: Dr. Milenko Petrovic, Jean Monnet Chair, Senior Lecturer Above the Bar, National Centre for Research on Europe, University of Canterbury.
Thematic Topic 3 and 4: Dr. Manos Papazoglou, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of the Peloponnese.
Thematic Topic 6 and 7: Dr. Efstathios T. Fakiolas, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science and International Relations, University of the Peloponnese.