While offering candidate status for EU accession to Ukraine was the right decision, stalling the accession of the Western Balkans however was a big strategic mistake – one that will be difficult to mend.
In its new methodology of the accession process, the EU has defined the rule-of-law as one of its fundamentals simnce 2020, underlining its importance as a core European value. All countries of the Western Balkan, despite reform efforts in the past and present, are struggling with organised crime and corruption, clientelism in their institutions, a weak judiciary and low trust of citizens in the system. The poor condition of the rule of law undermines the public’s trust in the effectiveness of democracy. In the long run, this can have disastrous effects on the democratic consolidation in the Western Balkans.
The war in Ukraine has exposed different views on sanctions against Russia by Serbia, and the Republic of Srpska in Bosnia-Herzegovina, on the one side, and other Western Balkan states and entities on the other. The EU should handle the issue cautiously, to avoid further splits and to prevent securitisation of the issue.
Ukraine has filed its application to join the EU. Brussels and the other European capitals have encouraged its ambition eagerly. Recently, Italian leading newspaper Corriere della Sera featured an interview by Prime Minister Mario Draghi recalling the significance of the self-determination of the Ukrainian people. People who chose the ‘ultimate’ referendum – between life and […]
The Communication on EU-enlargement policy presented by the European Commission on 6 October is encouraging for the countries of the Western Balkans. Together with the EC’s Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans and the Covid-19 recovery plan, it shows a great deal of goodwill. The country reports consist of concrete analyses based on […]