Western Balkans

Panel Discussion

Western Balkans: EU enlargement – Is pretending the name of the game?

It should have been clear by now that it is in the EU’s strategic interest that the enlargement process has no alternative, as the Western Balkan countries are surrounded by EU Member States. The European Union must be the actor in the region, setting an example, offering opportunities, cooperation, connectivity, support and, when necessary, facilitation.

Last December, the Union failed to agree on the Council’s traditional conclusions on enlargement. Additionally, this year, the European Commission will not publish its annual enlargement reports. Such inaction could easily be interpreted as a reflection of the lack of the EU’s interest in continuing the enlargement dynamics.

Despite the engagement of many experts and many regional processes and initiatives, we are witnessing a lack of implementation of agreements. This may be a consequence of the fractured relations in the region, the internal political situation in individual countries, the situation in the EU, and the slow pace of the enlargement process.