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Title: “EU Western Balkan strategy: enlargement perspective or unrealistic expectations”
Authors: Runcheva Tasev, Hristina
Keywords: European Union, Western Balkans, Member States, enlargement.
Issue Date: 2018
Publisher: St. Kliment Ohridski University Press, Sofia, Bulgaria.
Conference: Fifth International Scientific Conference of the European Studies Department "UNITED WE STAND STRONG"
Abstract: The much-awaited Western Balkans Strategy entitled “A credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans” comes eighteen years after the introduction of the Stabilisation and Association Process for this region. The Strategy aims to provide a credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans besides the fact that still the candidate countries are far from membership. The paper gives critical explication of what “credibility of enlargement” actually means in practice and if there is a realistic perspective for membership of the candidate countries of the Western Balkans by the projected year 2025. There is a disagreement among the EU foreign ministers over the projected year of integration, but the front-runners according to the Commission's assessment are Serbia and Montenegro, while Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia could join later. The Strategy does not leave a lot of space for optimism because it detects the key issues that have to be targeted, such as poor rule of law performance, organized crime and corruption at all levels of government and administration, etc. Besides that, it emphasizes on the non-functioning market economy among “Western Balkan Six”. And last but not least is the key issue of adopting binding solutions for bilateral disputes prior to their accession, which means that the Greek-Macedonian name dispute should be solved before the accession, without offering involvement of any EU Member States. The Strategy fails to address the idea of grouping countries of the Western Balkans as a whole and offering a package for membership, but instead, it favors individual accession of countries. Besides the good opportunity for the Balkans, the Strategy does not spread much optimism for the region.
ISBN: 978-954-07-4568-8
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Law: Journal Articles

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