The preliminary results of the joint research project: “Public and decision makers attitudes towards Western Balkan EU Enlargement in the Netherlands” by the European Fund for the Balkans (EFB), Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) and d|part were presented and discussed at a closed session in the European External Action Service (EEAS) and its Western Balkans Corner.
This project is a continuation of a similar research on “French public opinion on the EU membership of the Western Balkans” conducted in 2020, by d|part in partnership with the Open Society Foundation.
In 2019, the Dutch parliament vetoed the start of EU accession negotiations with Albania. Together with the simultaneous French veto against the start of talks with North Macedonia and Albania, it became clear how fragile the efforts to expand the EU in Southeast Europe are. Since then, many parameters of EU enlargement policy have changed. Particularly the outbreak of the Russian war in Ukraine on 24 February 2022 put European unity, belonging to the EU and European values (back) in the center of public attention.
Many observers classify the Netherlands as fundamentally skeptical about the enlargement, which is often attributed to a negative attitude towards EU enlargement among the Dutch population. Although several surveys have confirmed this negative attitude in the Netherlands, most of them only examine the subject superficially. It is still unclear how deeply rooted this rejection in the population is, whether this topic is of great importance to the population in the Netherlands, and how the negative attitude towards EU enlargement is related to broader perceptions of the European Union per se.
This joint research project will provide answers to some of these open questions. The Final Study will be launched on November 25th at Clingendael, Netherlands.