|On March 25, 2003 the Center for the Study of
Democracy hosted a round table discussion on the role of the
countries currently outside the EU and NATO enlargement, as seen
from the perspective of Sweden and Bulgaria. Guest speaker was the
Deputy Director for Central and Eastern Europe of the Swedish
Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dag Hartelius, with participants coming
from leading Bulgarian think tanks and academics.
The discussion touched upon the next phase of EU enlargement which would go beyond the current applicant countries to include the Western Balkans, former Soviet countries to the east of Bulgaria and Turkey. Lessons learned during the accession of the CEE countries include the impact of EU as a catalyst for reform, the fair application of the Copenhagen criteria and the effect of EU assistance. Security considerations seem to be playing an increasing role of enlargement and not simply due to the ongoing conflict in Iraq.