18 June 2012 Sofia, Bulgaria

The workshop entitled “EU Integration Process” within the scope of “From Balkan Wars to Balkan Peace” project is organized in Sofia on 18 June 2012. Click here to access the program.

Chairman of SAM Prof. Bulent Aras is stated on his opening speech that, the goal of the Project is to create a new collective memory and constitute a forward looking vision in Balkans and Turkey sees 100th anniversary of Balkan Wars as a an occasion to reach this goal. He also said that, to this end, SAM had organized workshops in Sarajevo, Tirana and Skopje and the aim of Sofia workshop is to evaluate perspective of Balkans towards the EU and the EU’s Balkans perspective.

In the “From Conflicts to Regional Cooperation and European Integration” panel, Director of the Institute for Balkan Studies under Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Alexander Kostov made a presentation on history of integration efforts in the Balkans and Dr. Ekaterina Nikova from Institute for Balkan Studies focused on the effects of enlargement of the EU towards Balkans on internal and foreign affairs of Balkan countries.

In addition, Chairman of SAM Prof. Bulent Aras gave a speech in the framework of “Europe”, “EU” and “Balkans” concepts and stated that EU is moving away from its own “values” which was represented in Maimonides’ and Saint Aquinas’ ideas. Assoc. Prof. Saban Kardas made a presentation comparing policies of the EU and Turkey towards Balkans and explained similarities.

In the Panel entitled “EU Enlargement in South East Europe: Prospects and Challenges”, Assoc. Prof. Birgul Demirtaş from TOBB University made a presentation named “ The EU and Southeast Europe: Imagining Future in Limbo”. Demirtaş touched upon EU’s succeses, faults and paradoxes in its policies towards Balkans. 

Assoc. Prof. Sinem Akgül Açıkmeşe, compared Turkey’s and Balkan countries’ accession processes in light of “Negotiation”, Europeanization”, “Conditionality” and Integration” concepts.

Spokesperson of Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs,  Vessela Tcherneva, shared her ideas regarding means for integration of Balkans. Antoinette Primatarova from Liberal Strategies Center examined changing foreign policies of  Balkan countries within the framework of “Europeanization and “EUization” terms.

On closing session, Prof. Ognyan Minchev from Sofia University, emphasized on the restructuring process of the EU and what could Balkan countries do in this period of ambiguity.