Embracing the Western Balkan countries’ EU at present. A vital question mark for the EU

Balkan Focus series

Policy Brief

24/08/2023

This policy brief highlights the challenges and geopolitical shifts impacting the EU enlargement process for the Western Balkan (WB6) region. Concerns over democratic institutions and the reluctance of some EU member countries have significantly slowed down the enlargement process.

To overcome obstacles, the EU has been pushing in the region for both the reforms needed and the idea of reaching regional integration as a way to enhance welfare, growth and stability. However, these strategies have yet to yield the desired results.

The outbreak of Covid-19, geopolitical tensions and an increasingly confrontational global environment might well compel the EU to reassess its regional engagement and provide a credible enlargement path for the WB6. Yet, reforms are not only needed in the WB6, but also in the EU to make its decision-making process more efficient.

Notwithstanding current obstacles, the shifting global order and the influence of external actors in the region make the WB6 inclusion within the EU of vital importance for European security and stability at large.

The Balkan Focus policy brief series, published in cooperation with Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale (CeSPI) and Karl Renner Institut, is realised in synergy with the Friends of the Western Balkans (FoWB) project. It provides the FoWB network with background analyses on current political developments in the Western Balkan countries, as well as on the debate and process of European enlargement. The policy briefs also factor in the outcome of the debate held by the FoWB members. Three more policy briefs will be published later this year.

Network
Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale (CeSPI)
Karl Renner Institut
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