The latest phase of ESI's Communicating Europe project began with a meeting in Warsaw from 4-5 March 2009 of senior West Balkans officials working on European integration issues. They were there to discuss Polish perspectives on EU enlargement and to meet Polish policy-makers, TV and newspaper editors.
Mikolaj Dowgielwicz, the Polish State Secretary spoke about Poland's objectives for its EU Presidency in 2011 and the current debate on enlargement within the EU. Poland is a supporter of further enlargement. Mr Dowgielwicz said he would be more than happy if Croatia joins the EU under the Polish EU Presidency which starts on 1 July 2011 – or under the preceding Hungarian EU Presidency.
Boris Vujcic, Croatia's Deputy Chief Negotiator spoke about how the nature of the enlargement process has become much more complex since the last big enlargements in 2004 and 2007. Malinka Ristevska Jordanova, the State Counsellor in Macedonia's Secretariat for EU integration spoke about her country's candidacy process.
The conference engaged 18 senior figures from seven West Balkan states – from Government, TV and NGOs. The officials also included; Srdjan Majstorovic, the Deputy Head of Serbia's EU Integration Office, Albert Gajo, the Albanian Assistant Minister covering EU issues, Alexander Pejanovic, Edin Sehic and Agnesa Rusi, the Heads of EU Departments for Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia respectively.
The speakers from Warsaw included Marek Cichocki, the Programme Director of the Natolin Europe Centre and EU adviser to the Polish President, and Pawel Swieboda, Director of demosEurope who advised the former President, and Eugeniusz Smolar, President of the Centre for International Relations, and Jacek Kucharczyk, Programme Director of the Institute for Policy Studies. Konrad Nikliwicz of Gazeta Wyborcza and Anna Kalczynska of TVN24 spoke on Polish media and the EU.