ISAC Hosts the “CFSP and Serbian Accession to the European Union” Conference

On 12 -13 May, ISAC organized the “CFSP and Serbian Accession to the European Union” international conference in the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Belgrade. In partnership with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Sweden, Open Society Foundation, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, the EU Delegation in Serbia, EU Info Centre, Heinrich Bцll Foundation, the Czech Embassy in Belgrade and the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany in Belgrade, ISAC dedicated the conference to analysing Chapter 31 (Common Foreign, Security and Defense Policy) of the EU accession negotiations and tackling the sensitive issues that stem from it.

We were especially pleased that the conference was opened by H.E. Ivica Dačić, Mr. Carl Bildt, H.E. Michael Davenport and Mr. Robert Cooper. They provided excellent insight into overall challenges of the CFSP in the case of Serbia and its importance for the negotiation process. It is especially important that senior Serbian government representatives participated as this conference, and ISAC’s overall project dealing with Chapter 31, is meant to provide a platform of knowledge transfer to Serbia’s decision makers for this negotiating Chapter as part of the overall European integration process.

The conference had a high level of media attention and the discussions offered an important overview of the issues facing Serbia in the context of foreign and security policy. The question of sanctions towards Russia was one of the most discussed topics, as well as position towards Ukraine. Global issues such as terrorism, migration, financial crises were also in the focus, and Serbia’s role was discussed from many angles.

The conference took place over two days, with the afternoon of the first day reserved for a public presentation and discussion of ISAC’s “Guide to Chapter 31 – Foreign and Security Policy”. The Guide contains basic information about the development, structure and importance of the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the European Union, as a mechanism for the coordination of national policies. For more information on the Guide please see this page.

The second day was divided in 3 panels: “EU Common Foreign and Security Policy: Current Challenges and the Position of the Western Balkan EU Candidate Countries” (panellists: Mr. Vladimir Ateljević, H.E. Aleksandar Andrija Pejović, Mr. Herbert Pribitzer, Ms. Christiana Markert; moderated by Dr. Ivan Vujačić); “The Experiences and Contributions of Post Big Bang Enlargement Member States within the CFSP Framework” (panellists: H.E. Ivana Hlavsovб, Mr. Adam Balcer; moderated by Mr. Igor Novaković); and “Common EU Foreign Policy Approach – Future Perspectives” (panellists: Dr. Marina Jovićević, Ms. Rebecca Harms, Mr. Karsten Voigt, Dr. Jan Joel Andersson; moderated by Dr. Johanna Deimel). Closing remarks were provided by Dr. Tanja Miščević, who concluded by saying that a conference of this profile was exceedingly necessary to help Serbian negotiating team to better deal with this important chapter.

ISAC Fund is pleased that the conference was a successful beginning of its multi-year project designed to offer expertise, policy recommendations and public outreach activities to Serbia’s Negotiating Team for Accession to the European Union regarding Chapters 30 and 31.