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EU enlargement has not been amongst the top priorities in Europe recently. The COVID-19 pandemic is dominating the political agenda and delaying internal reforms. At the same time the countries of the Western Balkans are struggling with additional problems. Democracies are under pressure, the rule of law is weakened and the current health and economic crises further complicates the search for renewed energies and optimism.

What challenges lie ahead for the EU and its closest neighbours in the Western Balkans?

Why is it so complicated to strengthen the rule of law in these countries?

And how to encourage and strengthen their European perspective?

23rd March 14:30 – 16:00 (CET)
“New perspectives on rule of law and justice – Where do we stand and what do we need?”

Márta Pardavi, Co-Chair, Hungarian Helsinki Committee
Nedim Hogić, PhD Candidate, Sant’ Anna School of Advanced Studies
Sofija Mandić, Secretary General, Judicial Research Center (CEPRIS)

24th March 16:00 – 17:00 (CET)
“How to get EU enlargement back on track? Prioritising rule of law and judicial reform.”

Katarina Barley, Vice President of the European Parliament
Nikola Dimitrov, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs, North Macedonia
Karoline Edtstadler, Federal Minister for EU and Constitution, Austria
Jovana Marović, Executive Director of Politikon Network, Montenegro

Vedran Džihić, Senior Researcher, Austrian Institute for International Politics
Paul Schmidt, Secretary General, Austrian Society for European Politics

This conference kicks off our three-year EU project Western Balkans 2 EU, which is funded by the Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Network of the European Commission.

For more information on the project & project partners, please visit

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