16 May 2003
ESI and Wilton Park joint conference: Catching up? The Western Balkans & the New Europe
What are the new ideas for the Thessaloniki EU Summit - and beyond? How could EU external assistance be used more effectively to promote economic development and institution building at the local level? What are the lessons from EU cohesion and pre-accession policies? How do the countries of the Western Balkans view the Europeanisation agenda? What do regional leaders at sub national and national level believe is required? What is required of local elites at sub-national and national level?

To approach these questions, ESI in partnership with Wilton Park and the Executive Agency of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) organized a conference. Hosted by the Norwegian Foreign Ministry, the conference took place in Oslo. The ideal environment gave the participants the opportunity for original thinking and frank speaking in an for such discussions. It brought together specially invited representatives from national and sub national level from the Western Balkan countries, and policy-makers from the international community.

The intention of this conference was to provide detailed and visually compelling evidence to test out new policy ideas in time for the June 21st Thessaloniki Summit, and the follow-through afterwards. The event was carefully framed to assist the policy-process in the run-up to the summit, especially regarding the options for applying forms of EU cohesion policies to the Western Balkans that are "all eventually destined to join the EU" (Romano Prodi).

ESI provided a paper based on original research, together with a specially commissioned documentary film ("The Bosnian Story"), examining exactly how new policies could work in the region. The film will be hosted on this website in the near future.

For the structure of the conference, please click here to see the programme.

About us
Photo credits
Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com