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Conference: Leaving Europe’s Waiting Room. Overcoming the Crisis of EU Enlargement in the Western Balkans


Graz, 9-11 of November, 2012

The Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz in cooperation with the European Fund for the Balkans, Österreichische Gesellschaft für Europapolitik, Südosteuropa Gesellschaft, Europe Direct Steiermark and the support from the City of Graz and Steiermark will host a three day conference on the state of EU enlargement in Graz on the 9-11th November 2012. The goal of the conference, named as “Leaving Europe’s Waiting Room. Overcoming the Crisis of EU Enlargement in the Western Balkans” is to reflect whether the EU enlargement in the Western Balkans is in crisis and will include policy-led discussions on reinvigorating the EU enlargement process and academic panels on specific obstacles in the enlargement process.

The general conference agenda is consist of several panel discussions on topics like “Making EU Enlargement Work–How to reinvigorate the accession process?”, “ Making EU Enlargement Work–How to reinvigorate the accession process?: An Academic Perspective”, “EU Conditionality Before Membership: Membership Conditionality vs. Policy Conditionality”, “Bilateral Disputes and Regional Cooperation”, “The Economic Crisis as a Crisis of Enlargement”, “Closing Difficult Chapters: Rule of Law and Judiciary”, “Regional Cooperation and is There a Need for a new Big Bang”.

The speakers on the separate panels will offer their overviews on interesting subjects like “State Power, National Interests and EU Enlargement: Taking A Second Look Ten Years Later”, “Political Agenda of Enlargement towards Western Balkans or Security based Agenda?”, “How to Break the Deadlock of Bilateral Disputes in the Western Balkans: In the Search of the Meaning of “Bilateral’”, “The Economic Crisis and Enlargement – Could it be a Chicken or Egg Question?”, “Fortress Europe vs. Regional Cooperation? “ and “Assessing the likelihood of the change of policy of the European Union towards the remainder of Western Balkans”.

The conference will discuss the obstacles and approaches to accelerate and reinvigorate the enlargement process. Instead of viewing enlargement as a state fulfilling formal criteria, the conference will focus on how and if the enlargement process can overcome the “enlargement fatigue” and the skepticism towards the membership of the Western Balkans in the EU to key aspects that the enlargement process both hopes to overcome and which risk remaining an obstacle for EU membership. It particular seeks to give room to young researchers who are able to contribute rich empirical work to the discussion. As an interdisciplinary event, the conference will include policy makers, lawyers, political scientists, sociologists and scholars from other disciplines, who will give their contribution to the Southeast European Dialogues.

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More info about the conference