'The EU's renewed enlargement agenda: the view from Southeastern Europe'

Friday, October 6, 2023 - 09:00 to 17:00
Maynooth University

The Maynooth Centre for European and Eurasian Studies will host a workshop on the theme of EU Enlargement on 6 and 7 October 2023. The event is part of the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence project 2020-2023. The keynote address will be delivered by Professor Antoaneta Dimitrova of Leiden University, one of the world's foremost experts on the enlargement process.
After many years of stagnation, the EU enlargement process has experienced a significant revival in 2023. As a result, the October European Council summit meeting in Grenada, Spain, is expected to produce consequential decisions on the EU’s relationship with the Western Balkan countries, Moldova and Ukraine. European Council President, Charles Michel, recently called for the EU to be ready for new accessions by 2030. German Chancellor Olof Scholz has called for major EU institutional reform in preparation for further enlargement. Enlargement featured centrally in the recent State of the Union speech by Commission president, Ursula von der Leyen. The Commission will soon deliver its 2023 reports on the progress made by candidate and aspirant states. The next meeting of the European Political Community will take place on 5 October 2023.  
This workshop will examine the future of EU enlargement from the perspective of southeastern Europe. It will evaluate the progress made by candidate states to date and how likely the renewed drive for enlargement will produce significant reform and convergence with EU standards. It will also examine lessons from recent enlargements and, in particular, the experience of Bulgaria and Romania, in joining the EU and implementing EU rules after accession. It will bring together experts from across the region to consider issues such as rule of law, transposition and implementation of EU rules, regional cooperation, elite-society relations, civil society’s role in the accession process and the impact of Russia’s war on Ukraine. It will also ask questions about the EU’s ‘absorption capacity’, and the institutional and decision-making changes necessary to allow an EU of up to 35 states to function efficiently in the future. 

Photos from the event 


09:00 Reception
09:15 Opening Welcome
Prof. John O’ Brennan (Maynooth University)
09:30 Keynote lecture:
Prof. Antoaneta Dimitrova (Leiden University) (Online)
10:30 Ambassadors’ Panel:
H.E. Ambassador Vanya Andreeva-Malakova (Ambassador of Bulgaria)
H.E. Ambassador Dr. habil. Laurențiu-Mihai Ștefan (Ambassador of Romania)
H.E. Ambassador Larysa Gerasko (Ambassador of Ukraine)
H.E. Ambassador Larisa Miculeț (Ambassador of Moldova)
11:30 Coffee Break
11:45 Ukraine's transit from "the back of Europe" to backing the EU.
Prof. Anatoliy Kruglashov (Yuriy Fedkovych Chernivtsi National University, Ukraine)
12:30 "The Unwanted Corner of Europe?" The Dangers of an Isolated Kosovo
Dr. Aidan Hehir (University of Westminster)
13:15 Lunch
14:00 Panel session 1 : Romania

  • Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă (National University of Political Science and Public Administration SNSPA, Romania)Deepening Politicization of the EU Enlargement Process in the Western Balkans. Fast track or Alternative Routes to Accession?
  • Radu Răuță (National University of Political Science and Public Administration SNSPA, Romania)Rule of law reforms in Serbia and Albania. Also Romania's policy in the Western Balkans in the context of the war in Ukraine
15:00 Panel session 2: North Macedonia

  • Dr. Simonida Kacarska (European Policy Institute, Skopje, North Macedonia) The evolution of the EU's accession instruments: the case of North Macedonia.
  • Discussant: Prof. John O’Brennan (Maynooth University)
15:45 Coffee Break
16:00 Panel session 3: Regional cooperation in Western Balkans

  • Dr. Adrian Corpadean (Babes-Bolyai University Cluj Napoca, Romania)Transfer of expertise between SEE countries and the Western Balkans
  • Vladimir Mitev (Journalist, co-editor of Cross border Talks, Bulgaria)Practice oriented view on Romania and Bulgaria geopolitical / regional ambitions