On 12 and 13 September the Federal Foreign Office and the Southeast Europe Association will hold an international conference entitled "The EU and the Western Balkans: The Objectives of the Slovenian EU Presidency – Implementation and Continuation".
The priority task of the Slovenian EU Presidency during the first half of 2008 was the stabilization and integration of the Western Balkan countries. There were many related issues on the European agenda – Kosovo's declaration of independence, the decision to send a European Rule of Law Mission to Kosovo, and the question of bringing the Balkan countries closer to the EU. To that end, Stabilization and Association Agreements were signed between the EU and Bosnia and Herzegovina and between the EU and Serbia.
The aim of the conference is to take stock of the Slovenian Presidency's successes, to look at the EU's remaining challenges, and to discuss ways of meeting them.
The conference will be opened by Gernot Erler, Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office. The Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dimitrij Rupel, is also scheduled to attend. Other participants are senior ministerial officials from Germany, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and France, as well as representatives of the EU Commission, think-tanks and universities.