EU relations with Western Balkans marked with Sarajevo conference

After years of fraught relations with the European Union, West Balkan countries could finally have some respite.

Bosnia and Herzegovina, among several other countries, have launched a bid for EU membership. And, while Europe is firm that they need to tighten their political governance first, the needle is moving in the right direction.

To discuss this potential for Bosnian membership to the union – and to mark 155 years of relations with Italy – several European academics met for an international conference in Sarajevo.

Neven Andjelic speaks at conference in Sarajevo
Dr Neven Andjelic

Regent’s Reader in International Relations and Human Rights, Dr Neven Andjelic, joined a panel in European politics, culture and identity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, along with other international experts, where the reciprocal relationship between European and Bosnian governance was debated.

‘The conference covers some of the most prominent topics in international relations right now, and reinforces the need for European peace and stability. Bosnian culture and identity are European – but their politics don’t fulfil European values. We can only achieve stability through internationalism, diplomacy and integration,’ he said.

Dr Andjelic joined several other speakers: Asim Mujkić (University of Sarajevo), Srđan Puhalo (sociologist and political analyst), and Roberto Belloni (University of Trento). Their panel was moderated by Marta Grande, President of the Italian Parliamentary Committee for Foreign and EU Affairs.

The conference was co-organised by the Italian Embassy and OBCT, and was attended by Bosnian, Italian, and international analysts, political representatives and students from both countries.