The Western Balkans and EU enlargement - lessons learned, ways forward, prospects ahead

Zhidas Daskalovski
2017 Security Dialogues. Journal in the field of Security, Defence and Peace Studies  
This study examines the state of the EU enlargement process in the Western Balkans. A more strategic approach from the side of the EU is needed to engage with the region and its myriad challenges -from security to economic development to the rule of law. The Western Balkans are surrounded by EU member states, yet membership remains a remote prospect, and other players, such as Russia, are ready to step in. It is in the interests of the EU to foster a secure and prosperous region, but it has to
more » ... ion, but it has to persuade the region's elites and public alike that the accession process will bring about sustainable reforms, stability and prosperity. This necessitates an enhanced reform drive and better communication by the governments in the region. The EU should work with governments and civil society to improve the evaluation process of progress made, induce consensus on EU enlargement among competing political parties, and support enhanced regional cooperation mechanisms. The EU needs to overcome 'good neighbourly relations' conditionality by proactively intervening to overcome bilateral disputes, to open accession negotiations with all countries as soon as possible, and ensure that the accession process serves as a powerful motor to drive reforms and institutional transformation.
doi:10.47054/sd171-20319d fatcat:obe7msykwzgknj7n3wnl3k67vi