The research project “Maximizing the integration capacity of the European Union: Lessons and prospects for enlargement and beyond” (MAXCAP) aims to assess the process of EU’s Eastern Enlargement. The leading notion of the 9 renowned European universities and expert organizations is that the assessment of EU’s approach towards the integration of the countries of the Eastern Enlargement has the potential to inform the current enlargement process, including Western Balkan countries and Turkey, who aim at EU accession. This multifaceted assessment can help build a foundation for policy recommendations to improve the integration capacity of the EU in the future. By presenting the research findings as well as opinions and discussions from the international seminar in Sofia, this publication is a continuation of the productive dialogue among academic circles and institutions, which is at the heart of the MAXCAP project. The approaches towards future EU enlargements have to be sensitive to the diverse trajectories of the societies of Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, which are not necessarily only negative, as the debate in Sofia has shown. This calls for innovative research instruments which can register the specificities in the different national cases, including public attitudes towards integration. The texts in this publication are primarily aimed at the solution of this methodological task.
The publication „ Communication Strategy for the Accession to the European Union” is the result of a collaborative research project with the Diplomatic Institute at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria and Hanns Seidel Stiftung. The aim of the research is to study the experience of the implementation of the communication strategies for EU accession of countries like Bulgaria, Hungary and Croatia, candidate countries – Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, in order to provide specific recommendations for improving the communication with the citizens. The book was presented on 22 February 2017 at the EU House, Sofia. Among the participants were ambassadors and diplomats of the Western Balkan countries, representatives of state administration, young diplomats and students.