EU Integrations

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’s ‘new approach’, democratization and the problem of stateness in the WB

The current “business as usual” policy of enlargement, or the first scenario of the Balkans in Europe Policy paper, deals with the advantages, and pitfalls, of the EU’s capacities to foster stalling democratization in the Western Balkans.  Any analysis of the potential for enlargement policy turning around the weak record of democratization in the Balkans has to take into account the innovations of the ‘new approach,’  when compared to the previous...

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...

What Will the European Elections Bring the Western Balkans?

The European elections of 22-25 May 2014 have generated unprecedented media attention inside and outside of the European Union (EU). Despite the fact that the lack of serious election campaigns in most EU countries confirms the enduring ‘second-order’ status of the European elections,’ i.e. secondary in importance to national parliamentary elections, the national and international media attention reflects the EU’s increased role in the lives of people inside and outside of its territory. This relevance is probably nowhere as big as it is in Southeastern Europe, where most countries are in...

Regional Cooperation: A Prelude to Greater European Integration

1989 was a year of predictions. Fukuyama spoke of the “end of history,” while Samuel Huntington, in his controversial article in Foreign Affairs, posited that the world is dominated by religious and cultural conflicts or fault lines, which will determine future struggle. All these theories and predications illustrate the problem of the post-Cold War order, but offer no solutions.

In addition to the 28 countries of the European Union (EU), there are still many levels of the European integration process, such as the European Free Trade Association, in which...

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...

EU Conditionality Curve and State Capacities in the Balkans

What do the Western Balkan countries have in common two decades after the violent ethnic conflicts that characterised the dissolution of Yugoslavia, and more than a decade into the use of enlargement conditionality? Why do they still lag behind and show resistance to substantial sectors of the Copenhagen criteria?

Most academics and practitioners working on bloody ethnic conflicts of the 1990s, ongoing ethnic-religious cleavages, and stabilization concerns, might still be tempted to identify regional stabilization and ethno-national divisions as the main problem. Indeed,...

A new approach to economic governance and growth in the Western Balkans

In its Enlargement strategy 2013-2014, the European Commission emphasised the need to address fundamentals first. Particular importance has been given to taking a new approach to the economies of the enlargement countries. In light of the global economic crisis, and in particular public dissatisfaction with the general socio-economic situation, as so visibly demonstrated by the recent protests in Bosnia and Herzegovina, we want to continue to support the Western Balkan countries in meeting the challenges of creating jobs, enhancing competitiveness and boosting growth.

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