20 years after Thessaloniki: Can The EU rediscover the Western Balkans?

Study presentation and panel discussion on 30 June 2023, 09:00 AM CEST

In cooperation between Berterlsmann Stiftung and wiiw


Oesterreichische Kontrollbank (OeKB), Strauchgasse 3, 1010 Vienna



wiiw and Bertelsmann Stiftung will provide an insight into EU’s economic ties with the Western Balkans by presenting a new study and discuss, together with a distinguished panel of diplomats and experts, a new EU approach towards the region.

Preliminary agenda

09:00–09:30 Opening Speech “The European Perspective: Keeping the Western Balkans on the Agenda” by H.E. Alexander Schallenberg, Austrian Federal Minister for European and International Affairs

09:30-10:30  Presentation of Study Keeping friends closer: Why the EU should address new geoeconomic realities and get its neighbours back in the fold” with special focus on the EU´s interconnectivity with the Western Balkans by Branimir Jovanovic, wiiw

Moderated by Stefani Weiss, Bertelsmann Stiftung

10:30-11:00 Coffee Break

11:00-12:30 Panel Discussion “Thessaloniki revisited 20 years on: Time for a radically new EU approach to the Western Balkans?” with

  • Odeta Barbullushi, Advisor to the Prime Minister of the Republic of Albania and National Coordinator for Regional Economic Area (tbc)
  • Simonida Kacarska, Director of the European Policy Institute, Skopje
  • H.E. Vjosa Osmani Sadriu, President of the Republic of Kosovo (tbc)
  • Manuel Sarrazin, German Federal Special Representative for the Countries of the Western Balkans (tbc)
  • Ivan Vejvoda, Institute for Human Sciences (tbc)
  • Romana Vlahutin, Ambassador, Distinguished Fellow for Geostrategy GMFUS

Moderated by Hannes Swoboda, wiiw

We are looking forward to seeing you there!