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"European Dialogues" in Sofia and Plovdiv on June 13th and 14th

The "European Dialogues" series continues on June 13th and 14th, 2024, in Sofia and Plovdiv, Bulgaria, with the support of the French Institute of Bulgaria. 

Updated on 22/05/2024

2 min

Launched by the Institut français, the project “In the face of war – European dialogue” consists of a series of events bringing together professionals from the fields of research, think tanks, the media and the public sphere to support discussion and debate surrounding the upheavals in Europe brought about by the war in Ukraine. Launched in Prague and Vilnius in 2023, other debates took place in Warsaw and Amsterdam in 2024. In Bulgaria, the discussions will focus on the theme "From the Balkans to the Black Sea: Legacies, Identities, and European Trajectories." 



Sofia, June 13, 2024 - 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM – Roundtable: Europe Facing War 

The Russian war of aggression in Ukraine is a major upheaval for Europe, which now faces the urgent need to provide massive support to Ukraine. After years of naivety that perhaps led to a lack of preparedness against the Russian threat, despite warnings from countries in the "bloodlands," to use the term of American historian Timothy Snyder, have we now moved past this phase? The Russian invasion has also prompted European policymakers to rethink their approach to EU enlargement to counter Vladimir Putin and his ambitions. What impacts has the war in Ukraine had on Southeastern Europe and on foreign policies in this region?

With: Sylvie Kauffmann, journalist at Le Monde (France), Vessela Tcherneva, Deputy Director, CEFR (Bulgaria), Constantin Sigov, philosopher (Ukraine), Una Bergmane, political scientist and historian (Latvia).

Moderator: Elena Maximin, Deputy Editor-in-Chief of Le Grand Continent 


Sofia, June 13, 2024 - 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM – Roundtable: The Balkans and Border Imaginaries 

Due to their complex history, the weight of empires, their ambivalent relationships with Europe, and their many political, ethnic, and religious divisions, the Balkans have long been the stage for various border-related imaginaries. These representations can evoke notions of both bloody separation and good neighborliness, cultural richness and interethnic tensions, symbolizing alternatively a "handicap of heterogeneity" or the power of mixtures and encounters. Even today, the border imaginary continues to fuel debates on identities, sovereignty, and affiliations. 

With: Alexandre Lévy, Franco-Bulgarian journalist and writer (Le Temps, Courrier international), Ahmet Insel, political scientist and academic (Turkey), Roumiana Preshlenova, Director of the Institute of Balkan Studies (Bulgaria), Milana Cergic, ethnographer (Bosnia-Herzegovina), Gergely Romsics, researcher, Centre for Humanities, Institute of History (Hungary). 

Moderator: Toni Nikolov, philosopher and Director of the journal Kultura (Bulgaria) 


Sofia, June 13, 2024 - 4:00 PM - 5:45 PM – Roundtable: Southeastern Europe and Integration into the European Union 

The enlargement of the European Union in this region has become a geopolitical necessity since the war triggered by Russia against Ukraine. This conflict also has ambivalent effects on the process. On one hand, it brings the topic of enlargement back to the center of debates, but on the other, this war highlights the fact that Balkan countries are far from aligned with the EU's foreign policy.

To complicate matters, issues related to the rule of law in Western Balkan countries (judicial or media independence, corruption...) raise fears of new states joining the EU that might follow the path of Viktor Orban's Hungary. There is also a real risk of importing conflicts within the European Union.

Historically, many Western Balkan countries have faced obstacles in their accession process due to bilateral disputes with certain EU member states. This situation requires a complex strategic approach from the European Union, which may have to separate the resolution of bilateral disputes from the accession process.

Finally, there is the issue of development, as candidates for integration in this region face even greater economic difficulties than the poorest countries in the EU.

With: Michel Foucher, geographer (France), Dimitris Christopoulos, professor at Panteion University (Greece), Cyril Blondel, senior lecturer, University of Reims Champagne-Ardenne (France), Clotilde Warin, researcher, European affairs officer at the Center for Analysis, Planning and Strategy of the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (France), Iulian Groza, Director of the Institute for European Policies and Reforms in Chisinau (Moldova).

Moderator: Hristo Hristev, Associate Professor of Law at Sofia University 


Sofia, June 13, 2024 - 6:00 PM – Artistic Event "Orient Express" 

Musical journey through the Balkans, project presented by Ina Kantcheva (with Bulgarian, Greek, and Turkish musicians).


Plovdiv, June 14, 2024 - 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM – Writers' Café-Debate on Legacies, Identities, and Territories: Narrative and Fiction in the European Imagination (Part 1) 

Southeastern European writers explore, each in their own way, issues related to the shared legacies and identities of their region. Their stories highlight memories of happy mixtures as well as conflicts, totalitarian pasts, voluntary and forced migrations that marked the 20th century in the Balkans, a region oscillating between forgetting and an abundance of memory. These meetings invite a dialogue between these authors from the Balkans and those from France, Poland, or Ukraine around these issues and questions. Through these writers' stories, it will be a question of journeys and destinies shaped by exile and return, dystopia, humor, and nostalgia.

With: Georgui Gospodinov, writer (Bulgaria), Mathias Enard, writer (France), Elitsa Gueorguieva, writer (Bulgaria), Tomasz Różycki, poet and writer (Poland).

Moderator: Frédéric Martel, French sociologist and writer, radio journalist at France Culture 


Plovdiv, June 14, 2024 - 4:00 PM - 5:30 PM – Writers' Café-Debate on Legacies, Identities, and Territories: Narrative and Fiction in the European Imagination (Part 2) 

With: Marie Vrinat-Nikolov, academic (France/Bulgaria), Maria Kassimova-Moisset, writer (Bulgaria), Rouja Lazarova, writer (Bulgaria), Igor Štiks, writer and co-director of the Museum of the 1990s (Serbia), Khrystia Vengrinyouk, writer (Ukraine).

Moderator: Léna Mauger, Editor-in-Chief of Kometa Magazine 


The project "In the face of war - European Dialogue" is organized in partnership with Ouest-France, Paris 8 University, Le Grand Continent, Reporters Without Borders, and Arte.

More information available at: dialogueseuropé 

L'institut français, LAB