Zovko moderates panel at Dubrovnik Forum about security aspects of EU’s enlargement policy

Dubrovnik, 9 July 2022


The fifteenth annual international conference Dubrovnik Forum was held on 8 and 9 July in Dubrovnik. High-level diplomatic representatives and other experts gathered to reflect on the theme of the conference “A quest for balance in a world disrupted”. Among the participants was Željana Zovko, Member of the European Parliament and Vice Chair of the Committee of Foreign Affairs, who also moderated the final panel “Decision time in Europe’s “soft underbelly”… and beyond”.

Zovko’s panel focused on the consequences in the Western Balkans of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, inter alia, the energy and food safety and information credibility. The panellists discussed ways to prevent the potential spill-over of violence in the EU’s eastern neighbourhood to the Western Balkans, and the possible role of EU enlargement in helping counter it.

The panel consisted of Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora of Kosovo, Gordan Grlić Radman, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Croatia, Ranko Krivokapić, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro, Josip Brkić, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Velislava Petrova, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Anna Lührmann, Minister of State for Europe and climate of Germany, Miroslav Lajčak, Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue and other Western Balkan regional issues of the European external action service (EEAS) and Sir Stuart Peach, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to the Western Balkans of the United Kingdom.

In her introductory remarks, Zovko underlined that the war in Ukraine has shown the need for a stronger and more capable European Union in the field of security and defence and that one crucial region for the security of the European Union, is the Western Balkans, where European preventive diplomacy can best be implemented by ensuring the accession of these countries to the EU. Zovko referred to the recent council conclusions of June in which Ukraine and Moldova were granted candidate status but also reflected on the enlargement perspective of the Western Balkan countries. she finished her remarks by calling to stop the current double standards on respect for peace agreements in Europe. “While the power sharing principle in the Good Friday Agreement is generally accepted, European politicians invest time and effort to abolish the same power sharing principle in the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreement,” Zovko concluded.

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