The Western Balkans: Hijacked Democracies or Future EU Members?


The Western Balkans: Hijacked Democracies or Future EU Members?

“The future of the Western Balkan countries’ accession to the EU will depend on how the latter will cope with challenges such as the refugee crisis and BREXIT”. “The inevitable changes that the digital technology and the social media have brought  to the modern  world have been quite beneficial but carry a lot of dangers too”.

These were only a couple of the many insightful remarks that emerged from the spirited discussion during the roundtable which took place in Athens on June 15 th, entitled “Towards a different media culture in the acceding countries of the Western Balkans: Investing in raising media standards and media transparency”. Organised by the CDRSEE in cooperation with  DG NEAR (European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations), this event is the first in a series of 3 roundtables to be held in Greece aimed at raising awareness of how accession by the Western Balkan nations is beneficial to the current EU Member States. .

The speakers at the event contributed a range of different angles, knowledge and experience to the discussion, which was attended by journalists, diplomats, international consultants and NGOs.

Mr Bouras, photojournalist and documentarian, spoke about the change of the media terrain in the digital era, as well as its consequences not only for journalists and media professionals, but also for states and their abilities to control the information flow.  Former member of the European Commission and economic adviser to the Greek government, Mr Wallden, provided an analysis of the EU in connection to the progress of the acceding countries of the Western Balkans. He was followed by Mr Sebek, who examined the meaning of the European Integration both for the Western Balkan countries and the EU within a framework of media issues. The closing speaker was Mr Ordanoski who highlighted the lack of democracy in the Balkan region as well as the state control over the media.

The CDRSEE’s Executive Director Ms Kovac was the moderator of the roundtable. On noting that the event had set an extremely high standard of public discourse on the issues, she guaranteed to implement more fruitful roundtables in the Autumn, at which the enlargement procedure will be examined through the lens of economic cohesion and  social integration. 

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