European Western Balkans

Presentation of the BiEPAG policy brief on Enlargement on Thursday in the European Parliament

Photo: BiEPAG

BRUSSELS – In the light of the 20th anniversary EU-Western Balkans Summit in Thessaloniki, the Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) is organizing the official launch and presentation of the latest policy brief “Keeping the Thessaloniki Promise: How to make Enlargement work for all 20 years later?”.

The event will be organized in the European Parliament, in cooperation with the Enlargement, Western Europe and Northern Cooperation Unit of the Directorate General for External Policies of the Union of the European Parliament (DG EXPO).

The two authors of the brief, Milica Delević, Director of Governance and Political Affairs at the EBRD, and Jovana Marović, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of European Affairs of the Government of Montenegro, will briefly address the main issues and findings at the event in the European Parliament, which will be moderated by Florian Bieber, Professor of Southeast European History and Politics at the University of Graz and BiEPAG Coordinator.

This new BiEPAG policy brief explores how enlargement can still work, in particular in the new geopolitical context following Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and the granting of candidate country status to Ukraine and Moldova in June 2022.

“The enlargement process has not only been revived but has also gained a sense of renewed purpose and urgency. It is now crucial to make sure the process delivers for all countries involved – for those in the Western Balkans just as much as for the new candidates in Eastern Europe”, BiEPAG researchers state.

According to the authors, compared to the high hopes of 2003, the situation now is deeply disappointing when it comes to EU enlargement. However, policy brief underlines that Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine has changed the geopolitical situation in Europe, and globally.

“All of a sudden, after years during which the goal of European Union membership was referred to as “European perspective” so as to appear less definitive and less threatening to citizens of EU member states, the number of candidates and potential candidates to join the organisation rose from seven to ten”, authors stresses.

Twenty years since the Thessaloniki promise of the European perspective of the Western Balkans

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