Sorsa Foundation seminar on Western Balkans

(Photos by Sorsa Foundation and Topi Lappalainen)

The Sorsa Foundation, in cooperation with the European Network of Political Foundations, organised a special seminar on the Western Balkans in Helsinki on 24 January 2023. The venue was Helsinki’s Musiikkitalo, and the full title of the seminar was What can be learned from crises? – Western Balkans’ EU enlargement in the shadows of the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, and the energy crisis.

Speakers included Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, Finland’s Ambassador in Serbia, HE Kimmo Lähdevirta, Irfan Cengic, Member of the Parliament, Federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ledjon Shahini, Director of Qemal Stafa Foundation, Albania, and Brendan Humphreys of the Aleksanteri Institute.

Humphreys had been asked to address the impact of the Ukraine War on the Western Balkans. He stressed some positive elements of solidarity with the Ukrainians, notably from Bulgaria, but he largely concentrated on the risks of Russian interference and provocation in the troubled areas, in particular Bosnia’s Republika Srpska and Kosovo.

Unfortunately, Minister Haavisto could not join the panel discussion that followed the individual speeches, but the debate was lively, direct, and very informative. Jelena Simic of the Sorsa Foundation chaired the discussion.

For an fuller account of the seminar in Finnish, see

Paljon puhetta Länsi-Balkanista  

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