Can EU Enlargement to the Western Balkans be revitalised?

Mark Dempsey24th February 20201min
EU Enlargement to the Western Balkans has been stalled for some time, largely due to a lack of political will among existing EU Member States and overall dissatisfaction with the accession process itself.This paper is part of the Future of the EU27 Project, which is sponsored by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Author : Niamh Fallon

EU Enlargement to the Western Balkans has been stalled for some time, largely due to a lack of political will among existing EU Member States and overall dissatisfaction with the accession process itself.

In February 2020, the European Commission proposed changes to the process. The Commission’s Communication came as a response to Member States’ calls for reform and to the deadlock at European Council level over the specific question of opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.

This brief examines the European Commission’s proposed reforms to the accession process. It takes stock of the state of play of enlargement policy in the European Council and examines past obstacles to progress in the Western Balkans. It then considers the overall implications of the Commission’s proposal and whether there is potential to reinvigorate EU enlargement to the region.

The EU Enlargement to the Western Balkans paper is available here