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Tag: EU Enlargement Policy

By allowing Western Balkans democracy to falter for two decades, the EU has trapped itself

In 2003, the year before its “Big Bang” enlargement, the European Union made a declaration in Thessaloniki: “The future of the Balkans is within the European Union.” In the 20 years since, the EU has not made good on that promise of future membership, nor have leaders in the Western Balkans risen to the occasion.

The all-but-halted integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union has led experts and citizens alike to wonder why the transformative power of the EU, at its peak in 2004 when it admitted ten countries from Central Europe and beyond, has proven ineffectual in this region. The answer is a combination of EU and region-specific factors. The EU failed to put democracy at the centre of its policy towards the Western Balkans as it was able to for the “Big Bang” countries. Twenty years later, poor democratic governance is the main obstacle to the region’s future membership.

June 22, 2024 - Alexandra Karppi

Double elections end North Macedonia’s de facto duopoly, but sometimes more is less

Dissatisfaction with the Social Democrats and nationalist demands from Bulgaria have shifted the country to the right.

May 14, 2024 - Kristijan Fidanovski

An unconventional marriage: twenty years since the EU’s “Big Bang enlargement”

Two decades have now passed since ten countries joined the European Union at the same time. Mainly based in Central and Eastern Europe, these nations have transformed the bloc into a body defining continental realities at every level.

March 18, 2024 - Ferenc Laczó

Polish approach to the transatlantic and European ambitions of Ukraine, North Macedonia and Moldova: a reality check of public debate

Poland has often been seen as a key supporter of EU and NATO enlargement. Having benefitted immensely from these processes itself, it has now backed enlargement to states like Ukraine, North Macedonia and Moldova. Despite this, there are certain peculiarities in its approach when it comes to each country.

March 11, 2024 - Michal Krawczyk

Kidnapping EU: misuse of the veto power on enlargement

On December 15th 2023, the leaders of Ukraine would have been shocked to hear that the EU might not provide its 50 billion euros as a result of Hungarian Prime Minister Orban's veto. The EU's right of veto has often been unduly used and exploited by EU member states against their neighbours, generally for issues unrelated to EU values.

March 8, 2024 - Rigels Lenja

In the grip of over-inflated expectations: Ukraine must avoid the “Orbanization” of its EU and NATO accession

An internal conversation about EU and NATO membership should take place in Ukraine to avoid the “balkanization” and “Orbanization” of the country’s accession talks and integration. A consensus on not abusing EU and NATO topics in political fights must be reached, as the stakes and risks are incomparable to those in Hungary and the Western Balkans in light of the ongoing war.

February 20, 2024 - Dmytro Tuzhanskyi

Georgian Dream’s shenanigans continue

The past year has seen the Georgian Dream administration engage in a variety of questionable actions. Ranging from laws on “foreign agents” to spreading conspiracy theories, it appears that these moves are designed to question the country’s pro-western orientation. Georgia’s citizens must now use the ballot box to challenge this record of mismanagement.

November 17, 2023 - Mark Temnycky

Security and enlargement: two sides of the same coin

EU enlargement is about more than just geography and economy. This has become even more evident at a time when one European country is waging a brutal war of aggression against another.

April 17, 2023 - Ilhan Kyuchyuk

France’s EU proposal for North Macedonia teaches us that nationalism shall prevail

North Macedonia has faced numerous challenges on its path to EU membership. Having signed a pivotal agreement with Greece in 2018, it was hoped that Skopje could move towards integration unhindered. However, a recent French-sponsored agreement with Bulgaria suggests that Sofia will now wield disproportionate influence over the country’s future.

August 22, 2022 - Alejandro Esteso Pérez

Georgia has work to do before it is considered an EU candidate country

The EU’s decision to not offer Georgia candidate status disappointed a nation that has long aspired to join the bloc. Despite this, European institutions have offered advice to get the country back on track in the face of various domestic issues.

June 30, 2022 - Mark Temnycky

From Associated to Candidate Trio? Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova’s EU membership journey

The European prospects of Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova have become a key topic of debate since Russia launched its “special military operation”. Eager to protect their pro-western outlooks, the three states could soon gain candidate status with the EU.

April 19, 2022 - Denis Cenusa Kerry Longhurst

What lurks behind Bulgaria’s “veto” on North Macedonia’s accession talks? 

Bulgaria's decision to block North Macedonian accession talks with the EU is being portrayed as a result of how the two neighbours view their history and language. A Friendship Treaty between the two is being used to raise tensions rather than alleviate them.

November 30, 2020 - Radosveta Vassileva

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