EU enlargement policy appears to have reached a deadlock. Following years of stagnation and relative neglect, the European Commission's attempts in 2018 to reinvigorate the EU’s engagement with the Western Balkans and to provide ‘a credible enlargement perspective” to the region have been thwarted by a lack of commitment on the part of (some) EU member states. The October 2019 European Council decision to once again postpone the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia is but the latest in a long series of delays in the enlargement process over the past years. This latest stunt has left the region reeling, with local leaders alternately endorsing a rapprochement with Russia and China? Or calling for snap elections to confirm their countries’ European path.? Reluctance on the part of the EU member states to endorse Skopje and Tirana’s formal progress on the road towards accession, despite the European Commission's positive recommendation, reflects concerns over the aspirant countries’ lack of preparedness. Moreover, it mirrors growing scepticism among European citizens regarding the admission of further countries into the Union and. In the case of France, it also corresponds to a perceived opposition between the deepening and the widening of the EU.‘ At the same time, the deterioration of the quality of democracy and the rule of law and widespread.
Overcoming enlargement deadlock: An action plan for the incoming EU Leadership
1 November, 2019