2018 is widely considered a year of opportunity for the countries of the Western Balkans (WB) to decisively move towards becoming open, stable and prosperous democracies. The EU also seems resolute in seeing the region advance along the European integration track, as demonstrated by the renewed commitment expressed in the latest Commission Strategy for the WB, the visit undertaken by the Commission President Juncker to the region and the upcoming high-level summits in Sofia and London. This EU reengagement with the region is crucial for the WB, which has gone adrift in recent years amid increased tensions, democratic backsliding and destructive geopolitical meddling by external actors. If the region seizes the current opportunity, it can quickly arrive at the EU’s doorstep by means of democratic and economic convergence. If this chance is missed, the WB risk remaining distant from the EU, without clear direction and menaced by instability that could spread to the EU as a whole.
Policy Brief: New European Balkans Partnership
1 April, 2018