The Working Group on the Western Balkans: Setting an Agenda for Transatlantic Cooperation | Wilson Center

The Working Group on the Western Balkans: Setting an Agenda for Transatlantic Cooperation

The EU and the US agree that the long-term goal for the Western Balkans is European integration. For a variety of reasons, however, progress on this goal has stalled. This series aims at launching a discussion on the hurdles to enlargement in the Western Balkans, the tools available to various international actors in the region, and how these resources might best be applied to reach the goal of integration most efficiently. These meetings, therefore, address issues that are at the core of the making the Transatlantic relationship work.

                The special focus of this meeting will be on agenda setting. With the current crisis in the Eurozone, it is understandable that Western Balkan accession will not be a top priority. Nevertheless, the Enlargement DG, the US Department of State as well as the foreign ministries of EU member states, along with other international actors will obviously continue to work on the region. In this environment, when leadership will be distracted by other concerns, it is more important than ever that policy on the region be coordinated, and a joint agenda may help keep this process on track.

                During the discussion, we hope to identify policy elements that might be integrated into a joint EU-US agenda for the region. Working group policy briefs have suggested various policy changes and innovations. It remains unclear, however, how these ideas might be incorporated into the international policy agenda, how the labor will be divided among different actors, or if other issues have since become priorities.


9:45 Coffee

10:00am Meeting begins; Welcome and Introduction by Nida Gelazis, Senior Associate, European Studies

What is on the policy agenda in the EU and US for the Western Balkans? How might EU and US coordination be improved?

Brief presentations:

Ambassador Philip Reeker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State

Rory Domm, EU Delegation

Ambassador Kurt Volker, Center for Transatlantic Relations, Johns Hopkins SAIS

12:00 Lunch

1:00 What are the elements of a successful transatlantic agenda? How have issues such as civil society engagement been brought into the agenda, and have these efforts been successful? What issues are not currently addressed by the EU-US agenda? How can we work to keep local politicians from coopting the international agenda in ways that delay or distract from the goal of EU accession?

Introduction to the topic:

Ivana Howard, National Endowment for Democracy

Dimitar Bechev, European Council on Foreign Relations

Ivan Vejvoda, German Marshall Fund

3:00 Meeting ends



David Armitage

National Intelligence Council



Dimitar Bechev

European Council on Foreign Relations

Robert Benjamin
National Democratic Institute


Ina Breuer

Project on Justice in Times of Transition

David Bosco

American University

Ambassador Srdjan Darmanovic

Embassy of Montenegro


Rory Domm

EU Delegation


Ambassador Cynthia Efird

Helsinki Commission

Kellee Farmer

Department of State


Nida Gelazis
Wilson Center


Gisella Gori
EU Delegation

Michael Haltzel

Johns Hopkins SAIS


Robert Hand

Helsinki Commission

Michael Henning



Bruce Hitchner

Tufts University

Ivana Howard

National Endowment for Democracy


Lise Morje Howard

United States Institute of Peace

Harris Mylonas

Harvard University


James O’Brien
Albright Stonebridge Group

Jonas Rolett

Soros Foundation


Ambassador Philip Reeker

Department of State


Cynthia Romero

Atlantic Council

Clelia Rontoyanni

World Bank

Christian Sadat

German Embassy


Daniel Serwer

Johns Hopkins, SAIS

Jason Steinbaum

House Committee on Foreign Relations


Ivan Vejvoda

German Marshall Fund


Ambassador Kurt Volker

Johns Hopkins SAIS

Peter Zernite

Department of State