5 September 2017
Bled – ESI moderating Western Balkans foreign ministers panel on EU enlargement
"Western Balkans: EU enlargement – Is pretending the name of the game?". Video: Bled Strategic Forum

ESI's Gerald Knaus was invited to moderate a panel of Western Balkans foreign ministers and EU and US representatives debating the state of play of EU enlargement in the region.

Issues debated included: Are we facing a situation in which the enlargement policy is not contributing to stability and reconciliation in the region? Could this also be a result of internal EU decision-making processes? Does the EU require an honest debate on how to more proactively tackle the remaining regional open issues so as to prevent their influence on the accession process and to prevent them from possibly hindering the stability in the region? For how long can the current dissatisfaction on both sides continue; or is the new political modus operandi in fact pretending – pretending to follow an open door policy, pretending to reform, pretending to wish to join the EU?


  • H.E. Mr Ditmir Bushati, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Albania
  • H.E. Mr Igor Crnadak, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • H.E. Mr Ivica Dačić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • of the Republic of Serbia
  • H.E. Prof. Dr Srdjan Darmanović, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro
  • H.E. Ms Marija Pejčinović Burić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia
  • H.E. Mr Nikola Dimitrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Macedonia
  • Mr Thomas Mayr-Harting, European Commission, Managing Director for Europe and Central Asia
  • Mr Pierre Heilbronn, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Vice President, Policy and Partnerships
  • Mr Walter Deffaa, European Commission, special adviser to Commissioner Crețu
  • Mr Hoyt Brian Yee, US Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs
  • Mr Milan Nič, German Association for Foreign Policy, Senior Fellow
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