International IRE Expert Conference in Sarajevo

The international IRE expert conference  “BiH’s way to the EU and the impacts on regional and local authorities“ was held at the Parliamentary Assembly of Bosnia and Herzegovina in Sarajevo on 15th April 2016, organised by the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) in cooperation with Canton Sarajevo, the Central European Initiative, the Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation and other international partners. International experts from eight European countries and high-level speakers from business and politics attended this conference. The aim of the conference was to raise awareness of topics such as rights, opportunities and benefits for the citizens and their region from the (future) EU membership as well as the impact of the EU membership on the local and regional authorities.

Representatives from Austria, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, Romania and Serbia presented their approaches and European projects and concluded that 70% of the EU acquis is to be implemented at subnational level.

The conference was opened by Franz Schausberger, President of IRE and Member of the Committee of the Regions and Chairman of the Working Group Western Balkans, whereas the opening speeches were given by Mirko Šarović, Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Relations of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Dragan Mektić, Minister of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, H.E. Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, Ambassador, Head of EU Delegation to BiH, H.E. Martin Pammer, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


One of the speakers at the panel discussion “Main Challenges for Regions and Cities when implementing EU integration – Best Practice Examples” was Siniša Lazić, Director of the European Affairs Fund of AP Vojvodina, who presented the Fund’s activities, as well as Vojvodina’s experiences in the European integration process. Other speakers as the panel discussion were Daniela Drobná, The Union and Town of Slovakia (UTCS), Slovakia, Eva Sobotik-Pavan, Head of Department for European Affairs, International and Regional co-operation, Karlovac County, Croatia, Ivo Branimir Piry, Former State Undersecretary, Expert on EU Integration and International Development, Ljubljana, Slovenia and Tudor Tanase, representative of the City of Brasov, Romania.