detail - Europabüro Brüssel
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Morning: Plenary Sessions
09.00 – 09.15 Keynote address by Olli Rehn, EU Enlargement Commissioner
09.00 - 10.30 Session I:
THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE EU’S BALKAN ENLARGEMENT STRATEGY
With Croatia now headed confidently towards EU membership in 2010, what is the outlook for
other Balkan countries’ accession hopes, and what might a Balkan ‘bloc’ promise for an EU of 30-plus member states? Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and
Bosnia and Herzegovina would between them bring an array of different economic and political
problems, while Serbia’s capacity to resist EU consensus-building will also be a challenge.
Although membership is in many cases still far off, does the EU risk biting off more than it can chew? Or is NATO’s successful MAP strategy already an encouraging pointer?
10.30 – 11.00 Coffee break
11.00 - 12.30 Session II:
IS THE EU EXERTING A CALMING INFLUENCE ON BALKAN POLITICS?
The lure of eventual membership, together with per capita EU aid that is the highest anywhere, has made the western Balkans region much more attentive to the wishes of European policymakers than could have been expected a decade ago. But how durable is the EU influence? Can the support of most EU members for Kosovo’s declaration of independence be turned into a durable settlement with Belgrade? Might it yet yield other self-determination problems with other minority populations in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia? What more must Brussels do to exert a Pax Europea in the region?
12.30 – 13.45 Lunch
Afternoon: Economic Roundtable
13.45 – 14.00 Keynote address by Martin Bartenstein, Austrian Minister of the Economy and Labour
14.00 - 15.15 Session III:
IS THE EU RIGHT TO POINT TO A NEW BALKAN ENTREPRENEURIAL CULTURE?
The OECD has said that South Eastern Europe “now benefits from a real entrepreneurial culture”. But despite financial and technical assistance to the region averaging €6bn yearly since 2001, unemployment throughout the region is still 20% and in countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina is a crippling 60%. How patchy are the economic success stories in the Balkans, and to what degree has economic and trade cooperation helped business leaders throughout the region learn from each others’ experience? What needs to be done to build a stable regulatory environment and further reduce politicians’ involvement in economic activities? Should EU-sponsored schemes be fashioned to do just that? The business community can expect significant benefits from EU accession. How strong is its public support for European membership and is its voice heard in the region’s capitals and Brussels?
15.15 – 15.45 Coffee break
15.45 - 17.15 Session IV:
HOW RAPID IS ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE WESTERN BALKANS?
At 5%, the economic growth rate of the Balkans has of late easily outstripped that of the eurozone. And foreign direct investment has more than doubled since 2002, going from less than €5bn a year to well over €10bn. The OECD’s Investment Compact for South East Europe is clearly yielding results, but economic development is still very uneven in the region. Is the new Sarajevo-based Regional Cooperation Council, the successor to the Stability Pact, making a difference, and how positive are early assessments of the revived Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) as a regional motor for growth? What role can the energy and transport sectors play in fostering regional integration and bringing South East Europe closer to the EU?
17.15 End of Summit