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Session 1: The “Big Bang Enlargement”: 15 Years Since the EU’s Greatest Accomplishment (Co-funded by the Europe for Citizens)

Session 1: The “Big Bang Enlargement”: 15 Years Since the EU’s Greatest Accomplishment (Co-funded by the Europe for Citizens)

Discussion Points:

  • How has 2004 “Big-Bang” changed the EU? Is the perception of the past enlargement rounds selective?
  • What were the benefits and costs for the so-called “old Europe?”
  • How has EU membership changed Czech Republic? What was the link between internal modernization of V4 countries and their European integration? What can be learnt from V4 countries experience in addressing challenges in effective transformation and European integration?
  • Was the regional cooperation the added value? What are the strong points of regional cooperation during the accession period?
  • How to convince the public that the EU enlargement is a good idea? Both in the EU member states and candidate countries.
  • If the enlargement was a success story, then why there is a strong skepticism among Western European societies towards further enlargement?
  • Why the EU policy is to keep the club together rather than bring in new members?


The Session aims to mark the 15th anniversary of the largest enlargement of the European Union in its history. It will explore the effects it made, the contributions and results of newcomers, but also discuss current state of the EU enlargement policy and perspectives for the candidate and aspiring countries from the Western Balkans. In this regards, a valued contribution to the discussion will give representatives of the Visegrad Group country Czech Republic and ex-Yugoslav republic Slovenia, while old EU members’ perspective will be given by speakers from Germany and Italy.


Previous BSF Sessions:

BSF 2018

Plenary Panel 1: Balkans 2025

Grand Opening: Western Balkans And The European Union

Plenary Panel 2: Reinventing The Union

BSF 2017

Keynote: Berlin Process in Belgrade

Session 5: What if the Western Balkans Never Becomes Part of the EU

Side Event: The Western Balkans in a Brexiting EU

Plenary Panel 4: EU-Balkans: What Is Our Common Future?

BSF 2016

Session 2: The Belgrade – Pristina Dialogue and the EU Future

Post Paris, Post BREXIT – Perspectives for the Western Balkans

BSF 2015

The Berlin Process in Belgrade: The EU as a Peace Project Revisited in the Western Balkans

Plenary panel 3: The Crisis in Ukraine – Lessons (not) Learned from the Western Balkans

BSF 2014

Session 4: EU Enlargement: Picking Up the Pieces?

Plenary Panel 4: Is It Time For a New Balkans Commission

BSF 2013

Session 1: Overcoming the Gaps in Security Cooperation in the Western Balkans

Session 3: Regional Cooperation and Reconciliation in the Western Balkans: Continuation or Stalemate

Opening Panel: State Building and European Integration – Mutually Reinforcing or Contradicting Processes?

Session 9: Serbia and Kosovo*: A Game Changer in the Balkans?

Closing panel: The Balkans 2020