Gerald and Alexandra attended a session of the EPC Balkans Task Force in Brussels, a group of experts assembled by the European Policy Centre. Gerald spoke about the Bulgarian experience and recommended:
- to encourage all WB countries to apply for EU membership and become candidates;
- to begin screening in late 2008/early 2009;
- to start negotiations with those that are ready. This will counteract the slow erosion of EU soft power in the region and produce the necessary momentum for the necessary reforms towards.
The next day, Gerald and Alexandra attended a conference called “Five years after Thessaloniki” with Carl Bildt, Dimitri Rupel, Olli Rehn, Michael Leigh (Director-General Enlargement), Stefan Lehne (Director for the Western Balkans in the Council) and many others. The background was the Western Balkans Communication issued by the Commission the week before.