When the external EU and Schengen border is compromised, the borders of the Western Balkan states become European borders. When these states lag too much behind their European neighbours in economic development and democratic standards, their citizens migrate. Regrettably, the political response to both dimensions of the migrant crisis in the Balkans has so far centred mostly on containment and deterrence. Worse still, there have been signs of horse-trading stability for democracy in order to have strong leaders able to tackle the migrant crisis. On the contrary, a decisive re-launch of the enlargement process, using existing tools and EU leverage effectively, would enhance both the capacities of the Western Balkan countries to handle external shocks as well as their attractiveness for their own citizens. Such a change in approach, however, requires replacing the current auto-pilot mode with a political driver for the accession process.
Policy Brief: The migrant crisis: a catalyst for EU enlargement?
1 June, 2016