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Telling the European story: seminar in Vienna, March 2007. Photo: ERSTE Stiftung

Telling the European story: seminar in Vienna, March 2007. Photo: ERSTE Stiftung

Telling the European story

April 2009

European enlargement has been termed "an unparalleled success story in history" (Janos Kornai) or "a miracle in international relations" (Mark Leonard). European institutions use similar language, as do many of the politicians or civil servants who have been involved in the process. And yet, despite such praise and efforts, it has become obvious that enlargement has a serious image problem, with implications for the image of the EU among its citizens and for future EU foreign policy, especially in South Eastern Europe.

Together with one of its main donors, the Austrian ERSTE Stiftung, ESI brought together thinkers and practitioners from across Europe in a series of seminars in order to identify novel approaches and innovative ideas on how new European narratives can influence current European debates.

Participants included Misha Glenny, author and writer, London, Heather Grabbe, Open Society Institute, Brussels, Gábor Hunya,WiiW, Vienna, Boris Marte, ERSTE Foundation, Alina Mungiu-Pippidi, SAR, Bucharest, Kalypso Nikolaďdis, member of the EU Reflection Group, Oxford, Ivo Prokopiev, Alpha finance holding, Sofia, Boris Vujčić, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Croatia, Gerald Knaus, ESI, and Kristof Bender, ESI, among others.

Our effort to find ways to relate these new European narratives to a wider audience has also been a driving force behind the "Return to Europe" documentary project, a ten-part documentary designed as a voyage through the whole Balkans.

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