Politicians and PR experts promote Western Balkans’ path to the EU

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Ministers and communications experts from South East Europe met with EU colleagues at the SEECOM conference in Berlin

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For the first time the biggest conference for government spokespersons from South East Europe has been hosted in Berlin.

For the first time the biggest conference for government spokespersons from South East Europe has been hosted in Berlin

The strengthening of the political dialogue between Brussels, Berlin and the Balkans was the main focus of this year’s SEECOM conference on 13th October 2017. For the first time the biggest conference for government spokespersons from South East Europe has been hosted in Berlin. The event was organised by the KAS Media Program South East Europe and the SEECOM association, and backed by the Directorate General for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policies of the European Commission (DG NEAR).

Over 140 participants from more than 15 nations attended the conference, among them politicians, PR experts, diplomats, NGO representatives and interested citizens. They came to inform themselves about the progress of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans as well as to enter into dialogue with the high-profile speakers.

The conference was opened by SEECOM Secretary General Vuk Vujnović and the Deputy General Secretary of Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Dr. Gerhard Wahlers. Vujnović underlined that an open citizen dialogue and an inclusion of citizens into the processes of reforms are vital for the further development of democratic societies in South East Europe. Moreover, he emphasised the role of Germany and France as examples for the idea of a unified Europe as well as for the future of the Western Balkans in the European Union.

During his opening speech Dr. Gerhard Wahlers said that an EU enlargement would be, above all, a huge communication challenge: "With regard to this, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung is especially proud to be co-host and co-founder of SEECOM."

Keynote speaker David McAllister, Chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the European Parliament and Vice-President of the European People’s Party (EPP), complimented the speech of Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, in which Juncker supported the accession of the Western Balkan States into the European Union by the year 2025. McAllister also mentioned Russian efforts to influence media, politics and civil society in some of the Western Balkan countries. He underlined that, in comparison with Russia, the EU has to communicate its achievements more clearly.

After their speeches David McAllister and Dr. Gerhard Wahlers answered many questions from the audience, among others on the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The key message of both speakers was: "All six Balkan states need our attention."

More in the event report.

Author

Manuela Zlateva

Publication series

Event Reports

published

Berlin, October 16, 2017