Agenda 2023

Day 1
12 Oct 2023

Opening Remarks

Ioannis Vrailas, Permanent Representative, Greece to the European Union
Ioannis Vrailas

Keynote Addresses | A critical decision for the future of the Union: What future for the Western Balkans

The EU enlargement process, especially in relation to the Western Balkans, has been brought once more to the forefront of the Union’s agenda, due to the great geopolitical shifts in the EU neighborhood. With diverging opinions on that matter, a political chess-game has been underway in Brussels and European capitals on how to proceed. EU Commission President Ursula Von der Leyen unveiled a new Western Balkans support plan last May, while a summit of Western Balkans leaders in Athens in August paved the way for future developments.

Margaritis Schinas, Vice - President, Promoting our European Way of Life, European Commission
Olivér Várhelyi, Commissioner of Neighnbourhood and Enlargement, European Commission
Margaritis Schinas
Olivér Várhelyi

Discussion I

Megi Fino, Deputy Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Republic of Albania
Angelina Eichhorst, Managing Director Europe, European External Action Service, Belgium
Angelos Syrigos, Member of the Parliament, New Democracy, Hellenic Republic
Chair: Nick Gowing, Founder, Thinking the Unthinkable, UK
Megi Fino
Angelina Eichhorst
Nik Gowing

Discussion II

Meglena Kuneva, Ambassador of the EU to the Council of Europe (2018 - 2022)
Ioannis Hadjiyiannis, Head of Unit, DG for Structural Reform Support, European Commission
Vladimír Bilčík, Standing Rapporteur of the European Parliament for Serbia
Chair: Ino Afentouli, Executive Director, Institute of International Relations (IDIS), Greece
Meglena Kuneva
Vladimir Bilcik

National disasters as an issue of national security: How can the state bounce back and regain trust & control

As major floods, wildfires and other natural disasters are becoming all the more common, costing lives and affecting livelihoods from Hawaii to Evros, states seem powerless to stem the tides of the climate crisis. Is it time for a global discussion on how to transform disaster response across the globe in order to regain the trust of the citizens? Is the climate emergency an issue of national security?

Stavros Papastavrou, Minister of State, Hellenic Republic (online)
Despoina Spanou, Head of the Cabinet of the Vice-President of the European Commission
Chair: Nik Gowing, Founder, Thinking the Unthinkable, UK
Nik Gowing
Despina Spanou

Networking Break

Serbia – Kosovo | Finding a way forward under the EU’s guidance

Fresh tensions between Kosovo and Serbia in recent months have called into question the stability of a fragile region. What can the EU do to promote a normalization of relations between the two neighbors?

Miroslav Lajčák, EU Special Representative, Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue & Western Balkans, Slovak Republic
Chair: Nick Gowing, Founder, Thinking the Unthinkable, UK  
Miroslav Lajčák
Nik Gowing

Achieving Europe’s energy transformation and autonomy in SouthEast Europe: Τhe balance of powers I

The regions of the East Med and SouthEast Europe have long been considered key for Europe to become truly  energy independent from autocratic actors. How is the EU and Member States effectively seeking allies and  energy partnerships in its immediate neighborhood?

H.E. Dr. Badr Abdelatty, Ambassador, Head of Mission, Arab Republic of Egypt to the EU
Anna – Michelle Asimakopoulou, Member, European Parliament
Iva Petrova, Deputy Minister of Energy, Republic of Bulgaria
Geoffrey Pyatt, Assistant Secretary of State for Energy Resources, U.S. Department of State (online)
Maria Rita Galli, CEO, DESFA
Chair: Antigoni Vafeidou, Director of Operations and Legal, EU, Advent Technologies Holdings
H.E. Dr. Badr Abdelatty
Anna – Michelle Asimakopoulou
Geoffrey Pyatt
Maria Rita Galli
Antigoni Vafeidou

Achieving Europe’s energy transformation and autonomy in SouthEast Europe: Τhe balance of powers II

The regions of the East Med and SouthEast Europe have long been considered key for Europe to become truly energy independent from autocratic actors. How is the EU and Member States effectively seeking allies and energy partnerships in its immediate neighborhood?
Cristina Lobillo Borrero, Head of the Energy Platform Task Force European Commission
Konstantinos Mavros, CEO, PPC Renewables, Greece
Athanasios Dagoumas, Chairman, Regulatory Authority for Energy, Greece
Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, CEO, Hydrogen Europe
Alina Inayeh, Advisor to the President, German Marshall Fund
Antonia Colibasanu, COO, Senior Geopolitical Analyst, Geopolitical Futures
Chair: Basil Gavalas, Managing Partner, Milhous Associâtes Consultancy and Development Corporation  
Cristina Lobillo Borrero
Konstantinos Mavros
Alina Inayeh
Antonia Colibasanu
Basil Gavalas

Networking Lunch

The key infrastructure projects that will change the face of SouthEast Europe

At the crossroads of three continents and several critical geopolitical regions of the world, SouthEast Europe  can steadily become a major commercial, transport and energy hub in the 21st century. What are the key  infrastructure projects securing this future?

Andrey Tsekov, Minister of Regional Development and Public Works, Republic of Bulgaria
Ioannis Xifaras, Secretary General of Transport, Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport, Hellenic Republic
Plamena Nenkova, Inter nationa l Affairs & Business Developement , Glavbolgarstroy Holding AD, Bulgaria
Irina Kustova, Research Fellow, Center for European Policy Center (CEPS)
Chair & Opening Remarks: George Kremlis, Fmr Advisor to the Greek PM on Environment, Climate, Circular Economy
Ioannis Xifaras
Irina Kustova
George Kremlis

Will 2024 mark the return of the Stability & Growth pact and what does it mean for South Europe?

A necessity during the pandemic and the energy crisis, the general escape clause of the EU Stability and  Growth Pact is likely to be deactivated at the end of 2023. Is the European economy ready to return to fiscal  discipline? How does such an event influence the debt-sensitive economies of Southern Europe?

Declan Costello, Deputy Director General for Economic & Financial Affairs, European Commission
Michael Arghyrou, Head of the Council of Economic Advisors, Ministry of Finance, Hellenic Republic
Christos Harpantidis, Vice President , Philip Morris International, South East Europe
Maria Demertzis, Senior Fellow, Bruegel
Chair & Opening Remarks: George Pagoulatos, Ambassador of Greece, OECD
Declan Costello
Michael Arghyrou
Maria Demertzis
George Pagoulatos

EU Pact on Migration and Asylum: Last chance or lost opportunity?

Negotiations between EU Institutions on a comprehensive reform of the EU Asylum and Migration legislation  have been ongoing for years, bringing uncertainty especially to countries on the EU’s border. Can the EU  muster the will to close this important chapter of EU legislation before the next European elections?

Dimitris Kairidis, Minister of Migration and Asylum, Hellenic Republic
Beate Gminder, Director General for Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission
Ghazi Ben – Ahmed, President, Mediterranean Development Initiative
Chair: Ian Lesser, Vice-President, German Marshall Fund of the US, Belgium
Dimitris Kairidis
Beate Gminder
Ghazi Ben Ahmed
Ian Lesser

The 3+1 platform (U.S.A, Greece, Cyprus, Irael): How can it benefit the region?

Regional alliances like the 3+1 mechanism can become a key component of building a peaceful,  stable and prosperous Eastern Mediterranean. Which policy fields are more mature for furthering  cooperation between the countries involved? How does this partnership affect a critical region of  the world?

Endy Zemenides, Executive Director, Hellenic American Leadership Council, USA
Harris Georgiades, Chairperson, House Standing Committee on Foreign & EU Affairs, Cyprus
Evangelos Kalpadakis, Diplomatic Advisor to the Leader of the Main Opposition/SYRIZA PA
Chair: Nicolas Kyriakides, Executive President & Founding Member, Cyprus Forum
Endy Zemenides
Harris Georgiades
Evangelos Kalpadakis
Nicolas Kyriakides
Nicolas Kyriakides

Revisiting EU-Türkiye relations

Greek - Turkish relations have been through several ebbs and flows over the past years, alternating between tension and cooperation. Can the two countries, coming out of fresh election cycles, find  once more their stride towards a new rapprochement?

Faruk Kaymakci, Ambassador, Permanent Representative of Türkiye to the EU
Ioannis Vrailas, Permanent Representative, Greece to the European Union
Mustafa Aydin, President, Int’l Relations Council of Türkiye; Prof. Int’l Relations, Kadir Has University, Türkiye
Constantinos Filis, Director, Institute of Global Affairs, American College of Greece
Marilena Koppa, Associate Professor, Panteion University
Chair: Ian Lesser, Vice-President, German Marshall Fund of the US, Belgium
Faruk Kaymakci
Ioannis Vrailas
Mustafa Aydin
Constantinos Filis
Marilena Koppa
Ian Lesser

End of Conference