EU Integrations

The end of conditionality in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

At their monthly meeting in Brussels on March 16, the European Union’s foreign ministers are expected to decide that a pre-accession agreement with Bosnia-Herzegovina should take effect. With the stroke of a pen, the foreign ministers will discard the notion that EU conditionality might be used to propel constitutional reform in Bosnia, reversing a policy that has been in force for many years.

                            ...

EU enlargement, the (meagre) results of the Italian EU Council Presidency

On January 13, with the handover to Latvia, the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union has reached its end. And also with regard to EU enlargement policy, the results of the semester remain meagre. The only formal step ahead for the countries of the Western Balkans towards European integration has been the opening of four new chapters of negotiations with Montenegro, in addition to the launch of the Adriatic-Ionian macro-regional strategy. Serbia and Albania, the major countries of the region, are not moving, nor are Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

...

Time for a different approach to enlargement: can accession in the Western Balkans be given a new impulse for change?

The Western Balkans accession process is getting some new energy and commitment these days, but not from the 'usual suspects' responsible for enlargement negotiations and reforms. A group of academics and analysts from the region and further afield in Europe, united in the platform entitled 'Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group' have produced a new policy paper, containing an analysis of the state of...

Media freedom in Serbia criticized in the EU Progress Report

The European Commission has published its annual Progress Report on Serbia today. As expected, the newest report has praised the countries’ efforts on the implementation of the agreement on normalization of relations with Kosovo, and the overall advancement in European integrations manifested in the official opening of the accession negotiations. The ruling parties in Serbia immediately did their best to...

The EU and the Balkans in Thessaloniki, 11 years later. What went wrong?

In 2003, during the Greek Presidency of the EU Council, the European Union confirmed its project of political integration of the Western Balkans, officially declaring at the Thessaloniki Summit that "the future of the Balkans is within the European Union." It was a time of euro-enthusiasm, between the introduction of the common currency and the upcoming eastern enlargement. The hope was that by 2014, the centenary of the First World War, all the countries of the Western Balkans could achieve the same result.
Eleven years later, the situation is less encouraging. The enlargement...

How Serbia Learned to Stop Worrying About Kosovo and Love the EU

When Serbia embarked on its democratic transition in October 2000, its main obstacles, on the way to liberal democracy, were the remnants of the former authoritarian regime and nationalist political forces coalesced around a strong anti-European discourse.  Serbia’s Europeanization process, until 2008, was slow and deeply contested as a result of deep symbolic divisions, an “identity divergence” vis-a-vis Europe (as Jelena Subotić termed it). When Kosovo declared independence in February 2008, Belgrade fiercely opposed it. Serbia was deeply divided between “pro-European forces,” who...

Is Albania becoming a part of Europe, or just returning to it?

Is Albania becoming a part of Europe, or just returning to it? Does granting candidate status to the country mean a chance, a present or a merit? How do we view the “EU,” as a set of values ​​or a valuable financial source for new member and candidate states? Is this the end of the integration process for Albania, or is it just the beginning of a long course of reforms that would finalize the country’s 24-year long aspirations of EU integration? These are some of the dilemmas and questions that remain unanswered in Tirana, on June 24, 2014 – several hours after the EU decision to grant...

1914: The true "Nullstunde" of Europe

In the self-understanding of the European Union, the history of European integration is linked with the end of World War 2 and post-war reconstruction. May 8, 1945 is considered as Europe’s “Nullstunde” or zero hour. However, the June 28, 1914 is better suited to mark the start of today's European project. But the 28th June is a difficult, more uncomfortable date: If ‘Europe’ started on 8 May 1945, so it can be understood as a story of economic success, political stability and progress. Although by invoking the concept of the EU as a ‘peace project’, one recognizes World War Two and the...

EU enlargement – what is its meaning today?

2014 marks an important anniversary: it's been ten years since Western and Eastern Europe were reunited. While the earlier enlargements of the EU were first of all about expanding and consolidating the single market, and anchoring democracy in formerly authoritarian countries like Spain, Portugal and Greece, the enlargement of 2004 was a real watershed in our recent history: it healed an artificial divide and brought back together a continent torn-apart during the cold war.

Today, nationalisms in Europe, prompted by economic uncertainty, would have us all fold back...

Montenegrin accession talk in the prism of the new negotiating rules

The enhanced negotiation framework of the EU enlargement policy towards the Western Balkan (candidates and potential candidates) countries is based on specific, so-called, seven "C" principles. The "conditionality, consolidation, and communication" principles were defined in the 2005 Enlargement strategy: consolidation of the EU commitments on enlargement; application of fair and rigorous conditionality; and better communication of the enlargement policy towards citizens, both in EU and in candidate and potential candidate countries. It is essential to foster understanding and...

Pages