As part of a new project – "Communicating Europe" - ESI is taking a group of leading Western Balkan officials working on European integration issues to Vienna, Berlin, Rome, and Paris to meet politicians, analysts and media representatives to better understand the wider debates in these countries concerning Europe and the future of enlargement.
The first communicating Europe conference was held in Vienna. Three senior figures from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Montenegro respectively were invited to learn about the Austrian debate related to the Western Balkans as well as to discuss this debate with expert speakers from politics, the media and civil society.
The workshop started on Wednesday with an introductory session. It ended on Friday with a final dinner providing an opportunity to discuss issues further with leading Austrian journalists. Participants were given the occasion to examine the debate through different presentations. Participants looked at Austrian perspectives on enlargement, as well as in sessions on Austrian politics and public attitudes, Austrian foreign policy toward South East Europe, the image of the Balkans in Austria, the perspective of the Austrian business community and other issues.
Participants, among others, included Vanja Ćalović (Executive Director of the NGO "MANS", Montenegro), Igor Davidović (Chief Negotiator, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Albert Gajo (Deputy Minister of European Integration, Albania), Borjan Jovanovski (journalist, Macedonia), Valentina Leskaj (Chairwomen of the parliamentary Group of the Albanian Socialists), Srđan Majstorović (Deputy Head of European Integration Office, Serbia), Hedvig Morvai-Horvat (Executive Director of the newly established European Fund for the Balkans), Neven Pelicarić (Director General for Europe at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, Croatia), Osman Topčagić (Director of the Directorate for European Integration, Bosnia-Herzegovina), Boris Vujčić (Deputy Chief EU negotiator, Croatia).