"Post Paris, Post Brexit - Perspectives for the Western Balkans"
Western Balkans Summit Series - Paris and the way ahead
On 4 July 2016 the French President François Hollande hosted a summit on the Western Balkans in Paris. It was the third of its kind after the launch of the “Berlin process”. Back in August 2014, in the wake of the centenary of First World War, the German Chancellor Angela Merkel initiated an intergovernmental process with the countries of the Western Balkans. Its aim has been to improve their cooperation, put “fundamentals first” and thereby reinvigorate the European integration of the region. The first conference in Berlin was followed by a second one in Vienna in 2015. The conference in Paris marked already the middle of the process as it was conceptualized to conclude in 2018, at the occasion of the centenary of the end of the First World War. The aftermath of the Paris conference hence offers an ideal opportunity for review and a discussion of the way ahead, in view of the conference planned for summer 2017 in Italy upon invitation by Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
The Austro-French Centre for Rapprochement in Europe, together with its partners, will therefore organise a series of Outreach Events in the Western Balkans. The roudtables and debate takes places as follow-on to the Reflection Forum “The Western Balkans in the European Union: new perspectives on integration?” organized by CIFE, the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI) and CFA/ÖFZ in Paris at on 30-31 May 2016 and the “Civil Society Forum Paris of the Western Balkans Summit Series” coordinated by the European Fund for the Balkans, ERSTE Foundation and others which took place in Paris on 3-4 July 2016. They will provide a forum for information exchange and reflection on the achievements of the process so far and help to generate fresh contributions for the way ahead.