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Contributing to Lasting Stability: The European Union’s Role in South East Europe

September 15, 2006


Friday, September 15, 2006
9:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Senate Room, 602 Robertson Hall
Carleton University, Ottawa

Conference Program

Presentation Abstracts

Short Biographies of Presenters

Immediately following the rejection of the European Union Constitution in the French and Dutch referenda of 2005, many analysts called for a rethinking of the entire EU enlargement project. Yet, slowing or putting the enlargement process on hold may deprive the European Union of a key mechanism for influencing the domestic situation of countries interested in EU accession. This may be a particularly important consideration in relation to some countries in South East Europe, where efforts to bring stability, democracy and market reform to the region are crucial to Europe’s own security and prosperity. While Romania and Bulgaria are likely to join the EU in early 2007, possibly followed a few years later by Croatia and (FYR) Macedonia, the future interaction between the European Union and Turkey, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Albania is mired in controversy.

Much of the progress made in the region in achieving political stability and viable reform programs could be attributed to the active support provided to it by the European Union (alongside the United States, Canada and other countries), including the use of conditionality associated with eventual EU accession. With the project of European Union enlargement questioned by an increasing number of EU actors, the incentive for positive transformation of Western Balkans countries and Turkey could be weakened. Whether the European Union could simply replace the prospect of actual membership with the benefits of programs such as the Stabilization and Association Process and other neighbourhood programs for the countries of South East Europe is an open question.

The upcoming international conference organized by Carleton University in Ottawa will help policymakers, experts and students better position themselves in relation to these significant developments. This event will serve as a follow-up to the high-level 2003 conference on the region organized by the Canadian Forum on South Eastern Europe (CFSEE), a sub-project of the Centre for European Studies (CES) at Carleton University. That conference drew attention to positive achievements and cooperative efforts in the region, as well as to the importance of EU activity in securing positive gains. Through the upcoming conference, CES hopes to elucidate obstacles and opportunities as the EU and other international actors seek to meet new challenges in the region.


This event is sponsored by the Centre for European Studies with support from the Institute of European Studies of Carleton University . We are grateful to the European Commission for financial support for the workshop and to the diplomatic missions in Canada of Austria , Sweden , and the United Kingdom in supporting the travel of experts from these countries to participate in the workshop.