With the energy crisis looming, the EU Meets the Balkans Forum could not have been more timely. Taking place in Sofia, Bulgaria on 26 April, this high level conference brought together many top-notch politicians from the region to discuss the future of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans.

“We don’t have to wait for a war to wage, as of now in Ukraine, to show solidarity, to visit Kyiv and to provide a perspective for its European future”.
Bujar Osmani, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of North Macedonia
“We have to take every decision we can make, no matter how small it is, and no matter how big it is. There is no excuse.”
“If we don’t take the decisions, all the negative consequences will haunt us”.
Olivér Várhelyi, EU Commissioner for Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement 
“We expect our partners in the Western Balkans to demonstrate that they are part of the solution. Not only through the statements or the sanctions. But also through the way they are addressing their own problems.”
– Miroslav Lajcak, EU Special Envoy to the Western Balkans 
“The EU needs to have a more mature approach in its external relations. We need to provide a European perspective to Ukraine and Moldova”.
– Daniel Kaddik, Executive Director ELF
“It is the sovereign choice of a country to join NATO”.
“The international forces including the EU force and NATO, work together in harmony to provide a safe and secure environment.
I warmly endorse the decision to increase the size of the EU force in Bosina and Herzegovina”.

– Sir Stuart Peach, UK Special Envoy to the Balkans

“The EU must spend to support high quality media, not client newspapers and broadcasters.”
“Governments using public funds to ensure the journalism is on their side must be challenged”.

– Peter Horrocks, Former Director BBC World Service Group

“It is a cycle of polarisation, provoked and fed by non-liberal regimes. If not stopped it will only benefit hate. It is making our democracy weak and vulnerable, here the EU has a huge role”.

– Milosz Hodun, Second Vice President, ELF

“More citizens want a functional, modern and liberal Bosnia and Herzegovina, more than they want a backward society tied to the interests of Russia and China. These liberal voices need support, recognition & legitimacy from the EU.”

– Sabina Ćudić, Member of Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Check out more photos from this event on Flickr.

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