BEYOND WAIT-AND-SEE: The Way forward for EU Balkan Policy Cover Image

BEYOND WAIT-AND-SEE: The Way forward for EU Balkan Policy
BEYOND WAIT-AND-SEE: The Way forward for EU Balkan Policy

Author(s): Heather Grabbe, Gerald Knaus, Daniel Korski
Subject(s): International relations/trade, EU-Accession / EU-DEvelopment
Published by: ECFR European Council on Foreign Relations
Keywords: 2008 Economic Crisis; EU and the Balkans;
Summary/Abstract: In the midst of a huge economic crisis, European Union leaders may be tempted to put off any further decisions on enlargement. However, now that some of the Western Balkan countries have tested the EU’s commitment by formally applying for membership, the wait-and-see approach is unsustainable. The EU has kept six of the countries of the Western Balkans – Albania, BosniaHerzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – waiting for a decade. The EU has asked them to take on difficult and ambitious reforms to prepare them for membership.However, Balkan leaders are no longer even sure that the EU members really want them in the club. As a result, the EU’s credibility is fading in the region. If it continues to hesitate about the next step, its leverage could fade too. The EU should respond to these membership applications in a positive way while reinforcing ist accession conditionality. The most realistic way to do this is to employ the EU’s existing tools more fully and more effectively, and to better sequence the next steps towards accession. This would support reformers in the region without imposing any additional costs on the EU. The aim is to set out a clear, realistic and motivational programme to help the Balkan countries to get in shape for membership – which could take many years to achieve. This will strengthen governance and provide political momentum to help the region get through the current economic crisis and ist political fallout.

  • Page Count: 8
  • Publication Year: 2010
  • Language: English