234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
Media Contact: Shelly Han
April 2, 2009


(Washington, D.C.) Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (the U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), will hold a hearing entitled, “The Western Balkans: Challenges for U.S. and European Engagement.” The hearing will be held on Thursday, April 2, 2009, at 2:30 p.m., in Room 210 of the Cannon House Office Building.

In the decade since the last major intervention in the western Balkans, the countries of the region have all made substantial progress in recovering from conflict, developing democratic institutions, becoming less reliant on the international community for direction and support and realizing their aspirations for Euro-Atlantic and European integration. Continued obstacles remain, however, and trends in some countries threaten to undermine what has been accomplished only with significant international effort. At this hearing, the Commission hopes to examine the latest challenges in the western Balkans, including Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. It also hopes to hear recommendations for the new U.S. Administration and its European partners in dealing with these challenges.


Lord Paddy Ashdown, former High Representative to Bosnia-Herzegovina

Ivo Banac, Bradford Durfee Professor of History, Yale University, and President, Croatian Helsinki Committee for Human Rights

Ivana Howard, Program Officer for Central and Eastern Europe, National Endowment for Democracy

James Lyon, Senior Associate, Democratization Policy Council, and former Senior Balkan Advisor, International Crisis Group

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 56 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.


Bosnia and Herzegovina


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Chairman Chris Smith meets with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic in Vienna, Austria. (Feb. 2015)