EU enlargement to the Western Balkans: Out of sight, out of mind?

Does the EU and the Commission in particular possess appropriate tools to deal with the ‘complicated’ candidate countries in a complex international reality? Marko Stojić in his new policy paper tackles the question with a comparative analysis of six Western Balkan (potential) candidates for EU membership, based on the qualitative analysis of the EU’s most recent and updated enlargement documents.

The aim of the policy paper is to assess the current state of play in the process of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans. It examines ways of accelerating the process, asking the question whether the EU and the Commission in particular possess appropriate tools to deal with the ‘complicated’ candidate countries in a complex international reality. The paper argues that, although the recent changes in the Commission’s approach to candidate countries are positive, there is more to be done to re-energise the process and encourage domestic reforms in these countries. The Commission needs to regain the role of key driver of the enlargement policy and refrain from a pure bureaucratic approach, lacking enthusiasm for accepting new members.

The study first examines key aspects of the Commission’s 2015 Enlargement Strategy and Country Reports and recommends appropriate adjustments to it. It then looks at the current state of EU integration of the Western Balkan candidates, as outlined in the Commission’s Reports, and offers more general conclusions and recommendations with regard to the EU’s overall enlargement policy. The study is conceptualised as a comparative analysis of six Western Balkan (potential) candidates for EU membership, based on the qualitative analysis of the EU’s most recent and updated enlargement documents.

The full text of Marko Stojić's policy paper is accessible via the PDF button next to this article.

#enlargement #policy #paper #Western Balkan #European Union

Marko Stojić
Associate Research Fellow

Expertise: European integration, EU enlargement, political parties in the Western Balkans, party-based Euroscepticism.

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