Event Details

  • Date:

The conference “Enlargement and the reforms of the European Union” will feature speaker Stefan Lehne on 16 April.
This is an event organised by Iscte-Instituto Universitário de Lisboa, the Austrian Embassy and the European Commission Representation in Portugal.

The event will take place in the Multipurpose Auditorium of Building 4, Avenida das Forças Armadas, Lisbon.

Stefan Lehne comes to Portugal to share his long experience in European affairs. His talk will focus on the twin challenge of enlarging and reforming the EU. As part of its response to Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, the EU offered candidate status to Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia and in December 2023 decided to initiate accession talks with Kyiv and Chisinau. These decisions have given a new impetus and urgency to the EU’s enlargement process, which had been stagnating since the accession of Croatia in 2013. Apart from the new Eastern candidates, six Western Balkan countries are seeking membership. Turkey, too, formally remains a candidate, though its accession perspective has receded. Expanding the EU to maybe more than 35 members will be a difficult undertaking, which will require a full mobilization of the EU’s problem-solving capacity. It also raises the issue of the EU’s absorption capacity, the question whether the bloc’s institutions, policies and finances are capable of accommodating a significant number of additional members. The discussion, what kind of reforms will be necessary to make the EU fit for the next round of enlargement has already begun, but it is still far from reaching a conclusive outcome. Stefan Lehne will talk about the interrelationship between widening and deepening the EU in a historical perspective, but he will particularly highlight the special challenges the EU has to face in the next stage of enlargement.

About the author: Stefan Lehne is a senior fellow at Carnegie Europe in Brussels, where he researches the European Union’s foreign policy, its institutional development and the challenge of the current “pluri-crisis”. He is also a lecturer at the Diplomatic Academy in Vienna. From 2009–2011, Lehne served as director general for political affairs at the Austrian Ministry for European and International Affairs. Prior to that position, from 2002–2008, he served the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union as director for the Balkans, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia. Previously, he was head of the Task Force for Western Balkans and Central Europe. He has held a number of other appointments in the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was a researcher at the Austrian Institute for International Politics.