​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The revitalisation of EU enlargement policy in 2022, in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, is changing the shape of our continent. Ukraine, Moldova and Bosnia and Herzegovina are now candidates for EU accession.

In the event of EU membership, local and regional authorities will have a key role in implementing EU legislation. The European Committee of the Regions (CoR) – the EU's expert body on multi-level governance and subsidiarity - is helping to prepare countries for EU accession. The annual Enlargement Day offers a forum for political dialogue and capacity-building,

The Enlargement Day consists of seven events: on 4 May, six meetings take place of the Joint Consultative Committees and Working Groups that deal with the CoR's relations with individual countries; followed by a high-level plenary session on 5 May. For the very first time, the CoR's Working Group on Ukraine will meet as part of the event.

This year's event also celebrates 2023 as the European Year of Skills. We will explore what skills are needed by local and regional decision-makers who face increasing demands to operate in line with EU rules and procedures, and by citizens faced with issues such as brain-drain to the EU.

All the sessions ​can be watched online – click on the green button next to each agenda. No registration is needed. (For in-person attendance in Brussels, the registration has closed).

09:30 - 13:00
Joint Consultative Committees (JCC) and Working Groups (WG) - Morning sessions

In EU enlargement policy, the CoR has a role directly under the Stabilisation and Association Agreements, which mandate its Joint Consultative Committees (JCCs). The CoR thus has a statutory duty to the represent the EU on a long-term mission to help the partner countries prepare for membership.

The JCCs consist of members from the EU – drawn from among the members of the CoR – and from the partner country. For the countries that do not yet have a JCC of their own, the CoR has set up Working Groups. These consist of CoR members only, but invite speakers and participants from the partner countries.

All the JCCs and WGs meet twice a year, once in Brussels during the annual Enlargement Day, and once in a partner country. All their meetings are public events.

14:30 - 18:00
Joint Consultative Committees (JCC) and Working Groups (WG) - Afternoon sessions 
09:30 - 15:30
Enlargement Day Plenary Session  

Listening and speaking possible in: DE/EN/HR/HU/IT/PL/RO + MK/SQ/SR/TR/UK


Opening Session

- Ms Anna Magyar (HU/ECR), CoR rapporteur on The Enlargement Package 2022, Member of the County Council of Csongrád Megye

- Mr Vasco Alves Cordeiro (PT/PES), President of the European Committee of the Regions, Member of the Azores Regional Parliament (by video message)

- Mr Tobias Billström, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Swedish Presidency of the Council of the EU (by video message)


Session 1: EU Enlargement policy back in the limelight

Panel discussion moderated by Nenad Šebek, independent journalist, Belgrade

- Mr Thomas Hagleitner, Head of Unit for Western Balkans Policy and Regional Strategy, Directorate General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission (DG NEAR)

- Mr Mehmet Ergün Turan, President of the Network of Associations of Local Authorities of South-East Europe (NALAS), Mayor of Fatih, Türkiye

- Mr Darko Mrvaljević, Secretary, Committee for European integration and international cooperation, Union of Municipalities of Montenegro (UOM)

The EU enlargement has been back in the limelight, with more EU candidate countries, some more striving to achieve that status, and the renewed enthusiasm both in the EU and among those on the EU integration path. Local and regional authorities have to combat to have their important role in the process recognized.


Coffee Break


Session 2: Topical debate linked to the 2023 European Year of Skills

Panel discussion moderated by Dragan Nikolić, independent journalist, Zagreb

- Ms Jasna Gabrič (SI/Renew), Co-Chair of the JCC North Macedonia

- Ms Maja Handjiska-Trendafilova, Director, Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA), Danilovgrad, Montenegro

- Ms Fanny Marchal, Head of Unit (Institution Building, TAIEX, Twinning), DG NEAR

- Mr Klas Klaas, Regional Manager EU Enlargement, Support for Improvement in Government and Management (SIGMA), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Finding the efficient mix of measures to keep the people with necessary skills in disadvantaged local communities and regions is crucial for their economic and overall development, as well as for the proper functioning of local and regional authorities. This session will try to help in search for the solutions. 


Session 3: Capacity lab: Building up capacities in the local communities

- Mr Nikola Dobroslavić (HR/EPP), Chair of the WG Western Balkans

- Ms Ulrike Damyanovic, Senior Human Capital Development Expert, Focal point for South Eastern Europe and Turkey, European Training Foundation (ETF)

ETF will introduce the EU Youth Guarantee Scheme and its relevance for the enlargement region. The participants will be invited to share their experience on how they foster the youth employment and what skills are needed most in their local communities and regions. Mr Furdui will share the experience of the local authorities from the Republic of Moldova.


Closing remarks​

- ​​Ms Antje Grotheer (DE/PES), Chair of the WG Türkiye


Study visit

Visit to the European Parliament for pre-registered delegates​