09:00 – 10:30 Plenary Session I

“Illusions or Realities – New Strategies for the Western Balkans?”

The European Union’s current enlargement process is taking place against widespread financial and economic crises affecting both the EU and the enlargement countries themselves. The crisis is additionally enhancing the scepticism about the Union’s future inside many of the EU member states and abroad. Once the crisis is over, the question remains if the EU will keep the Western Balkans on its enlargement agenda in the near future. What is an illusion and what reality for the Western Balkans in changing European reality? Are we going in the direction of strengthening ties with one another on our way to the EU, losing the European perspective, or resurrecting ethnic nationalisms in the region? How sustainable is the overall EU enlargement strategy and can it successfully complete the goal of the entire WB enlargement? What does the Croatian membership in the EU in the near future bring to the rest of the region, and how can it help in building new strategies for the Western Balkans?