European Union and Western Balkans 2015-2020 – Partnership Opportunities and Mutual Concerns


European Union and Western Balkans 2015-2020 – Partnership Opportunities and Mutual Concerns

12. December 2014.

In 2014, Europe marked two important anniversaries: the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the 10th anniversary of the accession of Eastern European countries and two Mediterranean countries to the European Union. This relatively short period of history is already recognized as significant, especially because of the dynamics and nature of the events that marked it. They are indicators of the changing socio-economic situation in Europe, which raises a number of questions regarding political progress, potential threats to social progress, and possible models of action aimed at addressing these problems.

Initiating a public discussion on these topics is of great importance for understanding the European perspective for Serbia and the Region. European integrations, which can offer an indispensable institutional framework for national unification in each of the Western Balkan countries, are particularly important and current in the context of the aspirations for democratization of society and the overall crisis of national identities. In order to initiate that discussion, as part of the celebration of the aforementioned anniversaries, and to mark the beginning of the European Commission’s new mandate , the Balkan Perspectives Today has organized a major international conference “European Union and Western Balkans 2015-2020—Partnership Opportunities and Mutual Concerns.” The aim of the conference was to answer some of the questions about the future of the EU, with particular reference to the accession process of the Western Balkan countries.

About the conference

At the beginning of December 2014, an international conference "European Union and Western Balkans 2015–2020—Partnership Opportunities and Mutual Concerns” was held at Ceremonial Hall at the Rectorate of the University of Belgrade.

The conference was attended by eminent guests, politicians and representatives of the academic community, who shared their experiences and knowledge, in order to support the countries of the region during the process of accession to the European Union. Former Portuguese Prime Minister and The European Commission President for two terms, José Manuel Barroso, spoke at the event. Throughout his long career, Barroso witnessed the success of the European Union enlargement and his professional experience has contributed to discuss membership issues and concerns constructively and in highly referential manner.

Special Advisor on Innovative Financing for Development in the United Nations Philippe Douste Blazy spoke about the strategic and economic benefits of EU membership, as well as on the subject of possibilities for effectively solving international problems in such a community. Vice-President of the European People's Party and Member of the European Parliament Mario David, as well as several local politicians and diplomats, contributed to the discussion.

An academic panel “The Role of Universities in European and Regional Integrations” was held as part of the conference. Many chancellors and professors from leading universities in Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina took part in the panel. This panel addressed a number of current issues regarding the status of universities in relation to the government and the public in the European integration process, as well as the professional support they provide in the negotiation process, and the responsibilities these institutions have with regard to future sustainable development in the fields of higher education, science, and labor markets.




Introductory speach

Mijat Damjanović
President of the Public Policy Institute Belgrade Management Board



European Union and Western Balkans 2015-2020


Jose Manuel Durão Barroso, President of the European Commission 2004 -2014
Jadranka Joksimovic, Minister in charge for European integrations in the Government of the republic of Serbia
Mario Henrique de Almeida Santos David, Vice-President of the European People’s Party
Philippe Douste - Blazy, Special Advisor on Innovative Financing for Development in the UN


Cocktail Break



The role of universities in European and regional integrations


Nikola Samardzic, Professor at the University of Belgrade
Goran Svilanovic, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council
Aleksandar Andrija Pejovic, Lead Negotiator for negotiations over Montenegro’s accession to the European Union
Radmila Vojvodic, Chancellor of the University of Montenegro
Ivanka Popovic, Vice-chancellor for science of the University in Belgrade
Stevan Lilic, Professor at the University of Belgrade

Ceremonial Hall of the Rectorate of the University of Belgrade

Ceremonial Hall of the Rectorate of the University of Belgrade

Rectorate of the University of Belgrade The Mansion of Miša Anastasijević is one of the most notable buildings in Belgrade, Serbia. It is the University of Belgrade's administration and governance building. The building was designed by Czech architect Jan Nevole and built in 1863. It had been originally designed to serve the grandson of Karađorđe Petrović, who was married to Captain Miša’s youngest daughter Sara. However, Captain Miša Anastasijevic gave this edifice as a gift to “his mother country for educational purposes.” This site is considered to be one of the most beautiful buildings in Belgrade, and Captain Miša's Mansion was declared a cultural monument of exceptional importance in 1979, and it is protected by Republic of Serbia.



Belgrade is the capital and largest city of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the rivers Sava and Danube, where the Pannonian Plain meets the Balkan Peninsula. The urban area of Belgrade has a population of 1.23 million, while nearly 1.7 million people live within the administrative limits of the City of Belgrade. Its name means “white city.” One of the most important prehistoric cultures of Europe, the Vinča culture, evolved within the Belgrade area in the 6th millennium BC. Throughout history, Belgrade was conquered several times. Due to its perilous strategic position, the city has taken part in over 115 wars and been destroyed 44 times. It has been the capital of Serbia since 1405 and it was the capital of Yugoslavia from its creation in 1918 to its dissolution.