July 23, Sofia – Vice-President of the European Commission Ms. Federica Mogherini and 30 representatives from European and Western Balkans' institutions and civil society organisations came together in Sofia, Bulgaria, for an international roundtable to discuss EU Enlargement, with a dynamic discussion ensuing on migration, the EU spirit and maintaining positive cooperation with the Western Balkans.
“The EU in a changing global environment: What next for EU’s Neighbours” was the topic put forth for the roundtable in the framework of the EU’s Global Foreign Policy Strategy Review. Ms. Mogherini, who is also the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, also spoke about the state of the European Neighbourhood Policy.
There was a dynamic and inspiring exchange of opinions among Ms. Mogherini, representatives of European and Western Balkans’ institutions and the Civil Society organisation leaders. CDRSEE Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac took part in the conference.
Ms. Mogherini pointed out that there is still no financial framework, and concrete actions have yet to be implemented in relation to the Western Balkans and the Eastern Neighbourhood. Regarding the relationship between the European Union and the Western Balkan countries, she said that a continual working relationship must be established with EU keeping the enlargement process alive, while the WB countries for their part must have a more positive approach towards the enlargement procedure, convincing the EU that their intentions are honest. A change in mentality is needed in the Balkans countries, she said, as there is a lack of EU spirit.
The discussion turned to the migration crisis in the EU. Ms. Mogherini spoke about need for the EU to create new strategies on migration and help to the immigrants’ countries. The European Union must work on finding the causes before any consequences appear. The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy also highlighted the importance of respecting the emigrants as human beings and not considering them as burdens.
The conference ended with an equally interesting discussion on energy. “Beyond the pipeline knot: The future of energy sector in the wider Europe region” was the topic, and experts on energy policies talked about thinking about energy in terms of interconnectedness, and the goal of sharing overproduction on the basis of transparency, solidarity and trust.