The Eu and the Western Balkans, what does the future hold?

GDPR

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Last February, the EU set out its western Balkans strategy which confirms that the door of the Union remains in principle open, beyond any doubt for the western Balkan countries. On May 17th, the EU-Western Balkans Summit at Sofia, aims to improve relations between the EU and the 6 countries, focusing on strengthening links in infrastructure, digital and human connectivity, and to work more closely together to tackle common challenges, such as security, migration, geopolitical developments and good neighbourly relations. In advance of the summit, from 24 to 27 April President Tusk traveled to Tirana, Podgorica, Belgrade, Pristina, Sarajevo and Skopje. He met with the leaders of each Western Balkans partner to prepare for the upcoming summit and to discuss bilateral relations with the EU.

The EU-Western Balkans summit will bring together:
• heads of state or government from EU member states’, including Tusk and Juncker,
• leaders from the 6 Western Balkans partners: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo.

There are significant challenges and hurdles to overcome for each of the 6 countries, should they choose to join the EU. The western Balkans strategy notes that overall, significant progress has been made both on reforms and on overcoming the devastating legacy of war and conflict. But in order for the countries to meet all membership conditions and strengthen their democracies, comprehensive and convincing reforms are still required in crucial areas, notably on the rule of law, competitiveness, and regional cooperation and reconciliation. 2025 is the target set for possible enlargement; Serbia and Montenegro could potentially be ready for membership by this date given progress to date on reforms. All pending bilateral issues must be settled ahead of accession, starting with a legally binding comprehensive normalisation agreement between Serbia and Kosovo.


To help the countries address these challenges, the Commission put forward the so-called six flagship initiatives on the rule of law, security and migration, socio-economic development, increasing connectivity, a digital agenda for the Balkans, and pushing harder for good neighbourly relations and reconciliation. Under these initiatives the EU announced its intention to support real progress, reform and change in the region, including offering additional financial support to those countries for all of those necessary reforms that need to be undertaken.

There are divisions between existing member states, yet overall the EU aims to bring the region closer to the EU's orbit, with fears over increasing Russian, Turkish and Chinese influence at Europe's doorstep. Hungary is keen to see Serbia and Montenegro admitted earlier than the 2025 target date. Slovenia and Croatia have been struggling to sort out a long-standing border dispute, while Belgrade - and five EU countries - do not recognise the independence of Kosovo, which broke away from Serbia in 2008 after a scarring war. Greece has repeatedly clashed with Macedonia over the name of the Western Balkan country. Austria is in favour of a swift integration of the region. Slovenia does not feel that it will be ready by 2025, citing border disputes in particular. Germany and France are somewhat reluctant, citing that there are demanding conditions to satisfy before joining the EU and that the way to achieve them is difficult.

It is therefore fair to say that this potential next phase of EU enlargement will be the toughest to date and one cannot ignore existing tensions between EU member states and of course the challenge of Brexit. Is this strategy for expansion a step too far giving existing challenges for the EU and its member states, or is this a chance that must be seized, to both promote peace and stability in the region and to elbow out outside influence? Thoughts?


https://euobserver.com/enlargement/141002

EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia, 17/05/2018 - Consilium

https://ec.europa.eu/commission/sites/beta-political/files/communication-credible-enlargement-perspective-western-balkans_en.pdf

https://******/images/qDKVKv
 
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Sync

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I think it's important not to view them as a bloc, but individual countries. Montenegro is well in advance of the other candidates, and it feels like they'll be ready to join way before the others.
 

forest

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As a federalist I support them all entering the EU but do see problems down the line
Even if they meet the criteria to join I could see problems in the future not unlike what we have in the visgard states
In the short and medium term I would like to see more engagement with the countries (and Moldova and Ukraine) including funds and more work permits for citizens of the countries.
I find it odd and scary that we still have people from one part of europe trying to claim asylum in another
 

The Field Marshal

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The Western Balkans.

Just who do you think you are ?
 

Sync

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What geographic term would you prefer, then?
It's literally the term used by the EU to refer to them. The European Western Balkans.
 
D

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I think it's important not to view them as a bloc, but individual countries. Montenegro is well in advance of the other candidates, and it feels like they'll be ready to join way before the others.
I agree with you on this not being a case where all join, or none join.

One thing that I'd like to see come of this summit is, at least, some sort of framework to amicably settle the various border and territorial squabbles in the region...including the Greeks issue with Macedonia.
 

The Field Marshal

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Do you have a point?

The thoroughly outdated term “Western Balkans “ is also extremely tendentious, pompous and conflated.
 

McTell

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No

The Field Marshal

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It's literally the term used by the EU to refer to them. The European Western Balkans.
It is a thoroughly outdated Term .

No wonder the outdated EU chose it.

:roll:
 

The Field Marshal

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GDPR

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The thoroughly outdated term “Western Balkans “ is also extremely tendentious, pompous and conflated.
Should Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo agree with you, fair enough. Me, I simply used the jargon in the EU document, I've no opinion one way of the other.
 

The Field Marshal

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The Field Marshal

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Well that's a can, or should I say diet, of worms.

The word Eternal has no time reference.
Your bickerings are therefore of no significance whatever.
 

The Field Marshal

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Should Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Kosovo agree with you, fair enough. Me, I simply used the jargon in the EU document, I've no opinion one way of the other.
The EU is itself outdated .
In repeating its thoroughly outdated terminology you just bore the pants off everybody .
 

flavirostris

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It will be a big boost to the self esteem of the EU if, on losing the UK, we can gain albania, serbia, montenegro etc, even if their economies are so dependent on crims...


https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/10/organised-in-montenegro-on-rise-amid-claims-of-gang-links-to-government

https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/west-urges-calm-as-serbia-denounces-terrorist-killing-of-politician-1.3357338

Albania
It would also have massive budgetary implications for the EU. The Contributor nations, of which we are one all have to pay more because of the 12 billion shortfall left by Brexit and now you have the proposed entry of more countries needing massive cash assistance.

It will have ramifications in all the Contributor nations like Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland etc.
 


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