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(Online) Rule of law challenges in the Western Balkans and the way forward

29 March @ 3:00 pm 5:00 pm

The European Union (EU) is based on the rule of law, and all new countries joining the EU must respect the rule of law and be committed to its promotion. So, what are the rule of law challenges faced and the gains booked so far by the countries that have officially been given the ‘candidate’ status, such as Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia? In the online event ‘Rule of law challenges in the Western Balkans and the way forward’ on March 29, speakers will focus on recent reforms and rule of law challenges in these countries. How can these challenges be tackled and what is the way forward? And: How are these developments perceived by the Netherlands, as one of the founding members of the EU?

Background
It’s been more than twenty years since the launch of the Stabilisation and Association Process, the European Union’s policy towards the Western Balkans, aiming at the eventual integration of the region into the EU. Similarly, it’s been almost two decades since the Thessaloniki European Council (2003) officially proclaimed the membership perspective for the countries in the region.

In these past two decades, Croatia was the only country that has managed to join the EU. While accession negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro have been going on for around a decade, accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia have not been opened yet, despite a decision by the Council to do so.

Panel of speakers
What are the gains booked so far and what are the challenges facing each country? How are these developments perceived by the Netherlands, as one of the founding members of the EU? How can these challenges be tackled and what is the way forward? These are the main questions that our panel of speakers will discuss, focusing on the rule of law issues in Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. The last speaker will focus on how these developments are perceived by the Dutch and European politicians. The presentations will be followed by a Q&A.

The speakers for this panel are:

  1. Dr Fjoralba Caka (Tirana University, Tirana)
  2. Dr Denis Preshova (Ss. Cyril and Methodius University, and External Associate for the Institute for Democracy, Skopje)
  3. Mirko Đuković (PhD candidate at CEU, Vienna, and Visiting Research Fellow at Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg)
  4. Milan Antonijević (Lawyer, Senior expert for Chapters 23 and 24)
  5. Thijs Reuten (Member of the European Parliament, Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats)

The event will be moderated by Dr Narin Idriz (T.M.C Asser Institute).

This event is organised in the context of the Global Europe project at the TMC Asser Institute.The organisation of this event is supported by the Embassies of Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia in the Hague, and the Montenegrin Representation to the EU in Brussels.