Friday, 15th February 2019

18.30 – 20.00 Opening Ceremony
Opening Speeches by
Yiannis Lagonas, Chairman & Co-founder, Thessaloniki Regional Forum
Yiannis Boutaris, Mayor of Thessaloniki, Greece
H.E. Ivo Josipovic, f. President of Croatia
20.00 – 21.00 Welcome reception

Saturday, 16th February 2019

08.30 – 09.30 Registration

09.30 – 09.45 Keynote speech
16 years after the Thessaloniki Agenda for the Western Balkans: the way forward

H.E. George A. Papandreou, f. Prime Minister of Greece and President of the Socialist International

09.45 – 10.00 Opening greetings

Amy Carlon, Counselor of Political Affairs, US Embassy in Greece

10.00 – 11.30 Session 1
European Union and Western Balkans: Reviving the Thessaloniki Agenda, new prospects for an “old” vision

H.E. Zlatko Lagumdzija, f. Prime Minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Η.E. Samuel Zbogar, EU Ambassador and Special Representative in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
H.E. Andrea Ikić-Böhm, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria in Greece
Gentian Elezi, Executive Director of Agenda Institute, f. Deputy Minister of European Integration, Albania
Dusan Reljic, German Institute for International and Security Studies (SWP) Head of Brussels Office
Moderator: Elena Papadimitriou, Journalist SKAI Greece

11.30 – 12.00 Coffee break

12.00 – 13.30 Session 2
The Connectivity Agenda for the Balkans: The role of the EU and other international players, turning challenges into opportunities

Corina Cretu, EU Commissioner for Regional Policy (video message)
Lars-Gunnar Wigemark, EU Ambassador and Special Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mimi Kodheli, Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee at the Parliament of the Republic of Albania, f. Minister of Defense, Albania
Radosav Babic, Director-General for Investments, Development of SMEs and Management of EU Funds, Ministry of Economy, Montenegro
Alexandros Exarchou, Managing Director, AKTOR
Aggeliki Kalligiannaki, Principal Banker, European Bank of Reconstruction and Development (EBRD)
Moderator: Vassilis Ntousas, Senior International Policy Advisor, FEPS (Foundation for European Progressive Studies), Brussels

13.30 – 14.30 Lunch

14.30 – 14.45 Keynote speech
Political dialogue and resolution of regional disputes

Valdrin LIuka, Minister of Economic Development, Kosovo

14.45 – 16.15 Session 3
A New Economic Agenda for the Balkans: A coherent growth policy for the region, addressing economic and social challenges

Ervin Bushati, Secretary of the Parliamentary Group of the Socialist Party in the Albanian Parliament, MP, Albania
Spomenka Duric, State Secretary, Minister of Regional Development and EU Funds, Croatia
Albin Kurti, President of the Movement for Self-determination, MP, Kosovo
Christos Nikas, Professor of International Economic Relations and Economic Integration at University of Macedonia, Thessaloniki, Greece
Moderator: Konstantinos Foutzopoulos, Executive Director & Co-founder of the Thessaloniki Regional Forum

16.15 – 16.30 Keynote speech
Priorities of the Romanian Presidency of the EU Council regarding the Western Balkans

Antoaneta Barta, Director General for Bilateral Relations, Regional Cooperation and European Enlargement, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Romania

16.30 – 17.30 Special session – interactive dialogue: Expanding the EU’s Energy Union to Western Balkans: Building on momentum for a common energy policy

Stavri Dhima, Head of the Sector of Developing Programs on the Natural Gas Field, Ministry of Infrastracture and Energy, Albania
Ilia Gjermani, Director of Developing Programs on the Petroleum Field, Ministry of Infrastructure and Energy, Albania
Visar Azemi, Executive Director, Balkan Green Foundation

17.30– 18.00 Coffee break

18.00-18.15 Speech

Katerina Notopoulou, Minister of Macedonia-Thrace, Ministry of Interior, Greece

18.15 – 19.30 Session 4
Western Balkans and the Refugee Crisis: Addressing internal and external challenges, protecting human rights and building a new way forward

Philippe Leclerc, UNHCR Representative in Greece
Naim Rashiti, Executive Director, Balkan Policy Research Group
Toby Vogel, Research Communication Officer at CEPS (Center for European Policy Studies), Brussels
Jovana Obradovic, Research Coordinator, SeConS Development Initiative Group, Serbia
Moderator: Christina Cileacu, Journalist, Digi24, Romania

20.30 – 22.30 Closed Dinner

Sunday, 17th February 2019

09.30 – 11.00 Session 5
Combating fake news and disinformation – Safeguarding Democracy in the Digital Age

Renata Deskoska, Minister of Justice, Republic of North Macedonia
H.E. Kate Smith, Ambassador of the United Kingdom in Greece
Jelena Milic, Director of Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies, Serbia
Adelheid Feilcke, Head of the European languages Department, Deutsche Welle
Remzi Lani, Executive Director of the Albania Media Institute
Moderator: Paulina Lampsa, Executive Director of Re_Public

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee break

11.30 – 11.45 Keynote speech
Romanian competitiveness perspective in the Balkan countries

Andreea-Maria Paul, President of think-tank INACO – The Initiative for Competitiveness, Romania

11.45 – 13.00 Session 6
City diplomacy in action: The growing role and the challenges of city-to-city networks in the Balkans, a new paradigm of regional cooperation

Shpend Ahmeti, Mayor of Pristina, Kosovo
Spyros Pengas, Deputy Mayor for Tourism and International Relations, Thessaloniki, Greece
Haris Pasovic, Director of the East West Theater Company, Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Moderator: Dimitrios Mahairidis, Journalist – EU office in Kosovo

13.00 – 13.30 Closing ceremony

Yiannis Lagonas, Chairman & Co-founder of the Thessaloniki Regional Forum
Konstantinos Foutzopoulos, Executive Director & Co-founder of the Thessaloniki Regional Forum