2013 Session 6: The Shy Engagement of a Historical Interlocutor: What can Europe do better in the Broader Middle East?

Sofia Platform 2013

31 October – 1 November Sofia (Bulgaria)

In the second half of the 1990s the US and the EU had a major role in settling the conflicts in the Western Balkans; for many the region became the birthplace of the idea of common European foreign policy. The role of Europe in the Middle East seems to be much less ambitious, yet the EU remains a close interlocutor of the region, for reasons of history, economy and geography. Thousands of refugees leave daily their countries of origin in a pursuit of a better lot in Europe. What should be the engagement of the EU today on the ground, in the countries of the MENA region? Should it be limited only to humanitarian aid and development assistance or real political and reconciliation engagement is expected? How should the EU respond to the refugee crisis in Italy, Spain, and Bulgaria?

Nataliya Apostolova, Head of Mission of the EEAS in Libya (Bulgaria)

Ibrahim Sharqieh, Deputy Director of the Brookings Doha Center (Qatar)

Jerzy Pomianowski, Executive Director of the European Endowment for Democracy (Poland)


Moderator: Vladimir Shopov, Adjunct Professor in Politics and Director of the European Strategy and Policy Institute – ESPI (Bulgaria)