Bringing Europe's Leaders Together

Special Session “Frontiers of Europe”: Greece & the Balkans
20-21 June 2024, Athens

In June, the Club of Three held a special session in Athens in collaboration with the Hanns Seidel Stiftung, focusing on the Western Balkans and the role that Greece can play in the region.

It built on a previous Club of Three event held in 2021 and entitled “The Balkans in an age of renewed great power competition: can the EU still be a stabilising force?”, chaired by Milica Delevic of the EBRD and with Carl Bildt and Majlinda Bregu of the Regional Cooperation Council as main speakers.

Some 35 senior figures from the fields of politics, diplomacy, business and think-tanks in France, Germany, the UK, Greece and the Western Balkans participated in the meeting.

The discussions, which took place at the Athens City Museum, took stock of the situation in the Western Balkans in light of recent EU announcements, and notably the EU’s 2023 Enlargement Package and Growth Plan for the region. They were divided into three main themes: investment and growth; EU integration and regional political dynamics; and migration and the rule of law.

After the first session, a dinner was hosted at the residence of the German Ambassador, with Greek Defence Minister Nikos Dendias as keynote speaker. In his speech, the Minister addressed the security challenges in the Balkans since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and Greece’s efforts in support of Ukraine.

The special session ended with a lunchtime discussion hosted by the Greek Foreign Minister Alexandra Papadopoulou at the Foreign Affairs Ministry. The Minister gave an address on Greece’s diplomacy towards the Balkans and southeastern Europe.

Participants included: René Troccaz (French Special Envoy for the Western Balkans); Dora Bakoyannis (Greek MP and former Foreign Minister); Dimitris Kairidis (Greek MP and former Greek Minister for Migration); Marios Broustas (Managing Director, Rothschild & Co Greece); Michael Davenport (Head of Mission, OSCE Mission in Kosovo); Majlinda Bregu (Secretary General, Regional Cooperation Council); Christian Schmidt (High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina); Borko Stefanovic (Serbian MP); Jovana Marovic (Member, Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group); Edward Preece (Deputy Director, UK Home Office); Alida Vracic (Director, Populari, Sarajevo); and Marianna Nathanail (Head of Representation, European Investment Bank in Greece).

This meeting was made possible thanks to the support of Rothschild & Co.