How to Enhance the EU Enlargement of the Western Balkans Cover Image

How to Enhance the EU Enlargement of the Western Balkans
How to Enhance the EU Enlargement of the Western Balkans

Author(s): Zhidas Daskalovski
Subject(s): Politics / Political Sciences, Politics, EU-Accession / EU-DEvelopment
Published by: Университет за национално и световно стопанство (УНСС)
Keywords: EU Enlargement; Europeanisation; Western Balkans; State Of Affairs; How To Invigorate The Enlargement Process
Summary/Abstract: The European Commission praises the accession policy “as one of the European Union's most effective foreign policy instruments”, but four main challenges pose obstacles to the accession of the Western Balkan countries: lack of popular will in EU Member States; flagging interest on the side of the EU; bilateral challenges thwarting implementation of regional cooperation; and indifference to the EU from the side of increasingly authoritarian regimes in some Western Balkan countries. Emerging regional powers, such as Turkey or Russia, are ready to step into a vacuum. Without a new impetus towards enlargement, the EU will risk losing strategic influence in a neighbouring region to other regional powers. This study examines how to recharge the enlargement process, which will require an enhanced reform drive and better communication by the governments in the region and involvement of the civil society. The EU should improve the evaluation process of the progress made, induce consensus on EU enlargement among parties in the region, as well as support enhanced regional cooperation mechanisms and bodies, in particular the Regional Cooperation Council and the South-East European Cooperation Process. EU needs to modify its “good neighbourly relations” approach by proactively intervening to overcome bilateral disputes blocking accession progress. The EU should launch a more intensive engagement with the Western Balkans, start the screening process and open accession negotiations with all of the countries as soon as possible, because the accession process is a powerful tool to drive reforms and institutional transformation.

  • Page Range: 152-166
  • Page Count: 15
  • Publication Year: 2017
  • Language: English