Awaiting a Sea Change

EU Englargement

The Russo-Ukraine conflict has certainly reinvigorated the focus on strategic planning within the EU, but this potential shift towards a more favourable outlook for the integration process doesn’t mean that there will be shortcuts for less enthusiastically engaged candidate countries

European enlargement has encountered a standstill over the previous two decades, due both to enlargement fatigue among existing EU member states and differing approaches among the countries of Southeast Europe that don’t always push hard enough for accession. However, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine has ignited a renewed focus on strategic accession planning within the EU.

Speaking in a recent address, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen outlined the potential for an expanded EU, particularly in the domains of defence and geopolitics. This shift has prompted lively public debate about the EU’s role in Ukraine, but also its strategic place in the new geopolitical circumstances. This prompted us to ask our interlocutors how they see this sea change.

Nemanja Todorović Štiplija, Editor-in-Chief of portal European Western Balkans

Positive Signs, But No Simple Solutions

The first real sign of whether the EU has changed its opinion on the issue of European integration will come after next year’s European...

Milena Mihajlović, Programme Director of the European Policy Centre (CEP)

Geopolitics is the Name of the Game

Growing awareness of the importance of preventing a malign Russian influence in Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans is progressively convincing EU stakeholders that...

Florian Bieber, Professor of Southeast European History and Politics and Director of the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz

No Clear Plan to Make Enlargement Work

There is no doubt that EU candidate status for Ukraine and Moldova has changed the dynamic of integration into the Union. Not only are...

Bojana Selaković, Coordinator of the Serbian Nation Convention on the European Union

Phased Enlargement

When it comes to a specific timeframe for the accession of Western Balkan countries, it is realistic to assume this will be a process...