EU-Western Balkans Summit

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Peace, Security & Defence
EU-Western Balkans Summit


This annual summit is the flagship event of our Balkan Journey, a series of events and articles discussing crucial developments and creative solutions for the Western Balkans with key stakeholders. Bringing together senior decision-makers with out-of-the-box movers and shakers, this Summit allows for an in-depth and innovative discussion on the future of the region and its relations with the EU.

Ahead of the new era that unfolds before Europe’s eyes, the Western Balkans stand out as key actors bound to play a critical role in the security and democracy of the entire continent. Composed of a series of interactive debates, this Summit will address the new challenges, risks and uncertainties the Western Balkans have experienced in 2022, while focusing on practical prospects through a set of policy recommendations.

For each session, we will welcome up to 200 senior stakeholders, who will have the opportunity to engage directly with the speakers, government representatives from the Western Balkans, MEPs, senior officials from international organisations, business and civil society representatives from the region, European Young Leaders and journalists.

This event will take place in person in Brussels and will also be available to a wider audience via livestream. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or Facebook, and join the #BalkansSummit discussion!



Welcome and registration
Coffee break
SESSION II – Empowering alternative industries in the Western Balkans
Coffee break
End of the Summit


Stevo Pendarovski
Stevo Pendarovski

Macedonian President

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Stevo Pendarovski has led a distinguished career as a politician and academic. He served as National Security and Chief Foreign Policy Advisor for two presidents and headed North Macedonia’s State Election Commission. He also worked as an Assistant Professor in International Security, Foreign Policy and Globalisation at the University American College in Skopje. He was a key figure in coordinating North Macedonia’s accession to NATO and is a strong proponent of Balkan integration into the EU as a way of attracting more foreign investment, creating jobs, and maintaining stability and prosperity in the Balkans.

Edi Rama
Edi Rama

Albanian Prime Minister

Show more information on Edi Rama

With a remarkably rich and diverse career path, Edi Rama’s involvement in the public and political life of Albania starts with his active participation in the movement for democracy that led to the dismantling of the communist regime in Albania. As Prime Minister, Rama continuously plays an important part in the political life of Albania, notably through the implementation of numerous reforms, including the restructuring of the country’s judiciary and law enforcement. Prior to his appointment as Prime Minister, he was Mayor of Tirana for 11 years, where he contributed to the modernisation of the city.

Photo of Delara Burkhardt
Delara Burkhardt

Vice-Chair of the European Parliament Delegation for relations with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo*

Show more information on Delara Burkhardt

Delara Burkhardt is a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). In 2019, she became the youngest German MEP. Burkhardt strives for a quick accession of BiH as well as the other Western Balkan states to the EU. As a member of the Parliament’s committee on the environment, she works on climate and biodiversity protection and the circular economy. Burkhardt is also the spokeswoman on environmental policies for the SPD delegation in the European Parliament and works on the topic of migration in the Parliament’s committee on home affairs.

*For the United Nations, references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

Photo of Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz
Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz

Kosovar* Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora

Show more information on Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz

*For the United Nations, references to Kosovo shall be understood to be in the context of Security Council resolution 1244 (1999).

Photo of Evis Kushi
Evis Kushi

Albanian Minister of Education, Youth and Sports

Show more information on Evis Kushi

Evis Kushi serves as the Albanian Minister of Education and Sports and as a Member of the Parliament of Albania, where she has previously served as the deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Group of the Socialist Party. Kushi is the former dean of the Faculty of Economics at Aleksandër Xhuvani University in Elbasan and has authored several scientific journal articles at home and abroad.

Manuel Sarrazin
Manuel Sarrazin

Special Representative for the Countries of the Western Balkans of the German Federal Foreign Office

Show more information on Manuel Sarrazin

Manuel Sarrazin serves as Germany’s Special Representative for the Countries of the Western Balkans. He is a former member of the German Bundestag, where he served as the chair of the German-Polish Parliamentary Friendship Group, as well as spokesperson and ombudsperson for European policy and spokesperson for eastern European policy for the Alliance 90/The Greens parliamentary group. In addition to his current role, Sarrazin also sits on the Board of Trustees of the Foundation for Polish-German Cooperation.

Photo of Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence at Friends of Europe and Contributing Editor to Politico

Show more information on Paul Taylor

Paul is a Senior Fellow at Friends of Europe and the author of Friends of Europe’s European Defence Cooperation report series. A Paris-based journalist, he also writes the “Europe at Large” column for Politico. He previously spent four decades working for Reuters as a foreign correspondent in Paris, Tehran, Bonn and Brussels, as bureau chief in Israel/Palestine, Berlin and Brussels, as chief correspondent in France, as diplomatic editor in London, and finally as European affairs editor. His assignments have included covering the Iranian revolution, the Cold War Euromissile crisis, the 1991 Gulf War, German reunification, the Maastricht summit, France in the 1990s, EU enlargement, the Eurozone crisis and the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt.



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