Dialogue on the Future of Europe: Is Enlargement a Key to the Future?

  • Boglárka Bólya Deputy Secretary of State, Deputy State Secretariat for EU Relations, Ministry of Justice, Hungary https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8766-8059
  • Ákos Bence Gát Head of Department, Department of Institutional and Human Policy, Deputy State Secretariat for EU Relations, Ministry of Justice, Hungary https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0871-9277
  • Dorottya Collet-Retkes Senior Government Counselor, Department for Institutional Relations with the European Union and Personnel Policy, State Secretariat for European Union Affairs, Ministry of Justice, Hungary
  • Márta Benyusz Head of Department, Department of International and EU Law, Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law, Budapest, Hungary
Keywords: enlargement, Western Balkans, conference on the future of Europe, European Commission, European strategic interest


This article concludes the presentations made at and the main lessons drawn from the international conference on Western Balkan enlargement held on December 6, 2021, within the framework of the pan-European dialogue on the future of Europe. The event was the fourth high-level international conference on the Future of Europe co-organized by the Ferenc Mádl Institute and the Ministry of Justice, and was attended by representatives of the European Union (EU), Hungarian, Serbian, and Slovenian politicians; and representatives from academia. The article briefly presents the EU context and the background of the enlargement in the Western Balkans. The presentations at the conference—almost without exception—highlighted the issues of credibility, political, economic, security, and strategic interests of the future of Europe in thinking about the future of the enlargement. Even though there are some slight differences regarding their approach to specific issues related to the advancement of European integration of the Western Balkans, every participant stressed the importance and urgency of their accession. The Hungarian government’s stance consisting of a firm support to the EU accession of the Western Balkans based and justified on their merits and the accomplishment of the required criteria, especially with regard to Serbia, was reaffirmed. In view of all this, the organization of the international conference by the Ferenc Mádl Institute of Comparative Law and the Ministry of Justice can be considered very timely and proactive.