Europeanisation meets democracy from below: The Western Balkans on the search for new European and democratic Momentum (WB2EU)

Right in between the tail of the presidential race and the head of the parliamentary elections, our WB2EU 4th Ideas go public Lab will focus on the general politics of enlargement in France. The Russian aggression on Ukraine has rekindled a movement of solidarity and mobilisation akin to those of 1956 for Hungary, 1968 for Prague or the 1980’s for Poland. The reconfirmation for Ukraine of its European destiny, in the face of war, and its domino effect on Georgia and Moldova, triggered a refreshed interest in the French public and political spectrum, for the EU’s enlargement goals and processes. In this regard, we found relevant to reflect on what this novel context could mean for the Balkans’ path into the EU. And the associated political narratives and plays.

Following the usual pattern, the WB2EU Ideas go public Lab will have an afternoon specialist round table, an evening public event – followed by a formal get together – and a WB2EU Network meeting for debriefing and reflecting on the next steps in the framework of the project.

So, the WB2EU 4th Ideas go public Lab will serve the following purpose:

  • To have an intensive debate about the general politics of enlargement in France, the EU’s enlargement goals and processes.
  • To reflect on what the latest developments in Europe mean for the Balkans’ path into the European Union.
  • To have an exchange with political stakeholders and further establish academia-policy-politics alliance around the project



Day 1: 19 May (Thursday)

Venue: EuropaNova premises, 64bis av. de New Yok, 75016 Paris

16:00h – 16:30h: Coffee reception

16:30h – 18:30h: Round-table discussion (closed session)

The Western Balkans EU accession process in a French perspective


Julien Arnoult, EuropaNova

Clotilde Warin, European Affairs expert, French MFA, Centre d’Analyse, de Prévision et de Stratégie

Krisela Hackaj, Executive Director, Cooperation and Development Institute (Tirana), WB2EU network

Moderated by Elise Bernard, EuropaNova, WB2EU network

Featuring academic experts and students, institutional stakeholders and opinion leaders.

18:00h – 18:30h: Q&A

Partners invited to the discussion: Institut Montaigne, ECFR-French office, Heinrich Böll Stiftung Paris, Fondation Jean-Jaurès, Fondapol, Groupe d’Etudes Géopolitiques, diplomatic circles in Paris. Bearing in mind the possible changes in the institutions after the April presidential election, the cabinet of the French president and the Secretary for European Affairs will be represented.

Media partners invited to the discussion: La Croix, Ouest-France (press), Radio France, Euradio (radio), AFP (agency).

18:30h – 19:00h: Break

19:00h – 20:30h: Public debate (livestreaming will be provided)

Venue: EuropaNova premises, 64bis av. de New Yok, 75016 Paris

The path to the EU – how the war in Ukraine has reopened the case for enlargement

Keynote speech:

André Gattolin, French Senator LREM, Vice-chair of European Affairs


Tineke Strik, Dutch MEP Greens EFA (video message)

Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, French MEP Greens EFA

Nebojsa Vukadinovic, Expert for the European Commission on pre-accession funds

Oana Popescu-Zamfir, Director, GlobalFocus Center (Bucharest), WB2EU network

Moderated by Paul Schmidt, General Secretary, Austrian Society for European Politics, WB2EU network

Concluding remarks: Elise Bernard, EuropaNova, WB2EU network

Registration and livestreaming (for the public debate):

On-site registration:

Distance registration via Zoom

Twitter & Facebook & YouTube

21:00h: Dinner

Day 2: 20 May (Friday)

Venue: French Senate, 15 rue de Vaugirard 75006 Paris

09:30 – 11:30h: WB2EU network meeting (closed session)

Debriefing, discussion and reflecting on the next steps

11:30 – 12:30h: A short visit of the Senate

13:30h: Lunch reception in the Austrian Embassy

(6 rue Fabert, 75007 Paris)

In cooperation with:

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