The language of the European Commission Strategy “A Credible Enlargement Perspective and Enhanced EU Engagement with the Western Balkans” signals a more integrative approach and marks new dynamics in the EU – Western Balkans (WB) relations. The Strategy sets out an Action Plan with six concrete flagship initiatives targeting specific areas of common interest: rule of law, security and migration, socio-economic development, transport and energy connectivity, digital agenda, reconciliation and good neighbourly relations. However, WB countries still face a number of obstacles on their EU path, from fulfilling accession conditionalities and implementing fundamental reforms to solving numerous bilateral disputes. In the Strategy, the EU is clear about not accepting to import these disputes and instability they may entail and makes a bold stance by demanding that the responsible parties solve the bilateral disputes as a matter of urgency. Given the aspirations for a stronger, more stabile and resilient Union in the coming decade, resolving outstanding disputes has now become even more of a priority.
Policy Brief: Bilateral Disputes Conundrum: Accepting the Past and Finding Solutions for the Western Balkans
1 April, 2018