Ahead of this week’s European Council, progressive MEPs and MPs urge EU leaders to take resolute actions toward the Western Balkans


On 17 and 18 June, the ‘Friends of the Western Balkans’, the newly established network of social- democratic Members of Parliaments and Members of the European Parliament from across the EU, met for the first time in Sarajevo. They committed to joining forces and promoting action to revitalise the EU enlargement to the Western Balkans, engaging with like-minded people all over the region and strengthening mutual understanding and friendship.

Ahead of the upcoming European Council, which shall decide on the candidate status of Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, the Friends of the Western Balkans urge the European Heads of State and Government to also take resolute actions toward the Western Balkan countries, which for too long have been stuck in different ‘waiting rooms’, while the EU member states hesitate to move on the accession process.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine brought war back to Europe and reminded us how important it is to preserve peace, and protect and support democratic forces across the continent. For this reason, the opportunity to make the European Union’s commitment to the Western Balkans credible must not be lost.

It is high time for the European leaders to remove the obstacles that keep stalling the accession process. It is time for negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania to start. It is time for the EU to concretely support Bosnia-Herzegovina’s effort to overcome its political stalemate and put in place democratic reforms, so that the country can be ensured candidate status as soon as possible. And it is time for Kosovo to be granted visa liberalisation, whose criteria were fulfilled in 2018.

The Friends of the Western Balkans network has been established thanks to the joint work of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies – FEPS (European Union), the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Germany), Karl-Renner-Institut (Austria), Masarykova demokratická Akademie (Czechia), Kalevi Sorsa Foundation (Finland), Fondation Jean-Jaurès (France), Foundation Max van der Stoel (Netherlands), Društvo Progresiva (Slovenia), Olof Palme International Center (Sweden), in cooperation with CeSPI (Italy).

Sarajevo, 18 June 2022

Western Balkans closed-door meeting


László Andor, Secretary General, Foundation for European Progressive Studies (Hungary)

Arjen Berkvens, Director, Foundation Max von der Stoel (the Netherlands)

Marina Berlinghieri, Member of the Chamber of Deputies (Italy)

Delara Burkhardt, Member of the European Parliament (Germany)

Doris Bures, President, Karl-Renner-Institut (Austria)

Adnan Dibrani, Member of the Riksdag (Sweden)

Piero Fassino, Member of the Chamber of Deputies (Italy)

Daniele Frigeri, President, Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale (Italy)

Josip Juratovic, Member of the Bundestag (Germany)

Kimmo Kiljunen, Member of Parliament (Finland)

Mojca Kleva Kekuš, Chairwoman, Društvo Progresiva (Slovenia)

Mikko Lievonen, Director, Kalevi Sorsa Foundation (Finland)

Florent Marciacq, Co-Director, Observatoire des Balkans, Fondation Jean Jaurès (France)

Thijs Reuten, Member of the European Parliament (the Netherlands)

Stefan Schennach, Member of the Bundesrat (Austria)

Andreas Schieder, Member of the European Parliament (Austria)

Martin Schulz, President, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (Germany)

Sanela Skrijelj, Member of Parliament (North Macedonia)

Anna Sündstrom, Secretary General, Olof Palme International Center (Sweden)

Bertalan Tóth, Member of the National Assembly (Hungary)

Harald Troch, Member of the Nationalrat (Austria)

Lubomír Zaorálek, President, Masaryk Democratic Academy (Czech Republic)

Damijan Zeim, Member of Parliament (Slovenia)

Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale (CeSPI)
Fondation Jean-Jaurès
Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS)
Kalevi Sorsa Foundation
Karl Renner Institut
Masarykova Demokraticka Akademie
Olof Palmes Internationella Center
Find all related publications

Social Europe: From vision to vigour

FEPS Primer series - Björn Hacker

EU Treaties – Why they need targeted changes

An approach based on European public goods, citizenship and democracy

Montenegro’s political transition. From Djukanović to where?

Balkan Focus policy brief series

Embracing the Western Balkan countries’ EU accession process. A vital question mark of the EU

Balkan Focus policy brief series
Find all related events
FEPS HQ (Expert meeting)

Living up to, not leaving aside

The Progressive Strategy towards the elections 2024
23 - 25/11/2023
Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina (Expert meeting)

The path to 2030 for Bosnia-Herzegovina and the region: Credibility and criticalities

Friends of the Western Balkans's meeting
Málaga, Spain (Expert meeting)

Leading, not leaning

The ways PES can be a pioneer in the sphere of transnational politcs in 2024 and beyond
Find all related news

The EU at the time of the New Cold War

A manifesto signed by FEPS President and FEPS Secretary General

Friends of the Western Balkans’ statement


FEPS renews its support to ULB students’ magazine Eyes on Europe


Progressive MPs and MEPs advocate for the fulfilment of the promise made in Thessaloniki to the Western Balkans

Open letter to the European leaders ahead of the EU - Western Balkans Summit
Find all related in the media
In the media

Γιατί χρειαζόμαστε την Ευρωπαϊκή Πολιτική Κοινότητα;

by News 24/7 05/12/2023
'Why do we need the European Political Community?' Hedwig Giusto, Senior Research Fellow and Editor-in-Chief of the Progressive Post, writes in News 24/7 about the importance of the European Political Community and the difficulties the project might encounter in the future.

Total honesty and far-right lies

by IPS Journal 04/12/2023
Dive into the insightful analysis published in IPS Journal by Tom Theuns, Assist. Prof at Leiden University, and László Andor, FEPS Secretary General, examining the Dutch election results and the conclusions that need to be drawn for a successful EU Integration

Um conclave pelo futuro da Europa

by Diario de Noticias 27/11/2023
Maria João Rodrigues participated in the 'Conclave' on the future of Europe. A transdisciplinary forum that discussed the essential questions to be asked and the answers to be given to European leaders.

Une réforme de l’UE qui intéressera forcément les Suisses

by Le Temps 24/11/2023
'EU reform bound to be of interest to the Swiss', an opinion piece in Le Temps on EU Treaties changes by Maria João Rodrigues, FEPS President, Guillaume Klossa, Director of think tank EuropaNova and Daniela Schwarzer, Executive board member Bertelsmann Stiftung