EU policymakers are growing more comfortable with the language of “geopolitics.” Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, EU enlargement is being viewed as a key geopolitical tool to constrain the Kremlin’s imperialist ambitions. However, Brussels has been accused of rushing enlargement in the past. Has the EU learned from experience?

What do our readers think? We had a comment from Nikolai arguing that intra-regional trade in the Western Balkans is an important way to promote stability, while Georg warns against the EU relaxing accession requirements for geopolitical reasons.

To get a response, we put their comment to participants during Friends of Europe’s EU-Western Balkans Summit on 7 December 2022. Responding were:

  • Isabelle Durant, former Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
  • Ivana Živković, UN Assistant Secretary General
  • Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga, former President of Latvia
  • Manuel Sarrazin, Special Representative for the Countries of the Western Balkans of the German Federal Foreign Office
  • Jana Soukupová, Founder of Youth, Speak Up! and EDYN Ambassador in the Czech Republic

You can watch their response in the video above.

Should the Western Balkans join the EU for geostrategic reasons? Should there be a bigger focus on intra-regional trade in the Western Balkans? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!



9 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    EU-Reform Proactive

    Why the repeated questions: ‘should others join’ the EU (re- EU’s ‘enlargement policy’) for whatever reason and whenever the EU architects decide it is time & justified?

    It was a ‘blank cheque’ the 27 Members have given the EU Commission to do as they please. What a pity!

    One understands- ‘economic gain and political security’ are at its core. Once more, the consent of the population has been forgotten or deliberately circumvented! Credible, non-credible or incredible non-democratic?

    The accession criteria and ‘UNANIMOUS’ consent by all Members are a prerequisite and laid down (and no cheating- like in the past)

    https://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/policies/enlargement/#:~:text=The%20EU%20integrates%20new%20members,stability%20and%20prosperity%20in%20Europe.

    I can understand the inherent power derived and harvested from Europe’s largest river- ‘The Danube’. That doesn’t suggest that all countries along that river should automatically become part of the future USE.

    Can it be sustainable?

    Its waters have never been asked, but its folks along that river need to be considered & canvassed- not the bureaucrats in the EU Commission.

    https://www.icpdr.org/main/publications/power-danube-can-it-be-sustainable

    • avatar
      TheUknownMan

      Yes maybe, but I prefer if they take Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus. Europe is dying so we need young people.

  2. avatar
    Pedro

    The Balkans should join the EU FOR POLITICA REASONS.

  3. avatar
    TheUknownMan

    Yes, but you need to bear in mind that some of those countries have a different religion then Christianity. The Ottoman Turks have used force to convert many of the population in Bosnia and Albania to Islam.

    For Geo-strategic reasons yes, but not for economic reasons. If you need countries for financial aid take Norway, Lichtenstein and Iceland. Maybe ask the United Kingdom to re-join without Northern Ireland.

    Switzerland will never join the EU for whatever reason. I even thin they have a law that forbids them to join any political or military alliances.

  4. avatar
    AnonymousMan

    Yes they should, but Bosnia and Albania are Muslim. Does this not contradict European Christian values. They are Muslim, because the Turks forced Islam upon then during the Ottoman Empire. However the Balkan states are poor financially. If you ask me it is better to the rest of Scandinavia and Lichtenstein or Switzerland or the UK.

  5. avatar
    giraud jean guy

    Actually, there are now at least 9 candidates to accession (6 Balkans + Ukraine/Moldovia/Belarus) so that EU 27 will soon be an EU 36. How will it be possible to manage such a numerous and heterogenous bloc ? How can it be kept united in a spirit of solidarity? How could it preserve the original (quasi-federal) project ? The risk is for the EU to be transformed in an inter-governmental organisation along the lines of the OECD or the Council of Europe. This would be “an other Europe” – “une autre Europe” (see “http:/lesamisdutraitedelisbonne”) without much political strength both internally and externally.

    • avatar
      Will James Lord

      @Giraud Jean Guy Why do you want poor countries in. Take rich countries like Iceland, Norway, Andora, San Marino and Lichtenstein or even Monaco and if at all possible Switzerland. There is just too much poor countries from Eastern Europe.

      As a fan of the UK I think Great Britain should re-join without Northern Ireland. There was a war in Northern Ireland so it is hard to work with them it is best to leave the two Irish states to unite into a single country. Irish Republican Army will only calm down if Ireland is united.

  6. avatar
    AnonymousMan

    @DebatingEurope where is my comment ??

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