Publications 2016

MIGRATION PANORAMA | The Western Balkans migratory route: perspectives and persisting challenges

19 December 2016
Kristine Anderson (Protection Monitoring and Evaluation Manager, International Rescue Committee), Matteo Bonomi (Former Programme Assistant at the EPC), Raphaela Engel (Security Policy Advisor, Federal Ministry of Defence, Republic of Austria), Tanja Fajon (Member of the European Parliament), Marco Funk (Former Policy Analyst at the EPC), Milica Mancic (Partnership and Communications Manager, International Rescue Committee) and Vladimir Petronijević (Executive Director, Grupa 484, Serbia)

In the past few years, the EU’s capacities have been stretched thin as it grappled with multiple challenges, leaving the Western Balkans and the EU membership aspirations of the countries in the region somewhat marginalised. But the Western Balkans suddenly returned to the top of the EU’s agenda last year as an unprecedented number of refugees crossed the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece and transited through the region to reach Central Europe. Given their geographic location and the fragility of the EU’s cooperation with Turkey, countries along the Western Balkans route have in fact become crucial partners for the effective management of migratory flows towards the EU. This second edition of the EPC’s Migration Panorama includes five articles offering diverse perspectives on the Western Balkans route, the region’s role in managing the influx, and how EU-Western Balkans cooperation on this issue might affect further progress on enlargement. Milica Mancic and Kristine Anderson of the International Rescue Committee highlight humanitarian considerations and the effect of EU policies on governance in the region; Vladimir Petronijević from Grupa 484, a Serbian NGO, focuses on the situation in Serbia – a key transit country at the heart of the Western Balkan route; Raphaela Engel of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defence explains Austria’s special role in managing irregular migration flows in the region, stressing the importance of close cooperation with Balkan states; MEP Tanja Fajon’s contribution examines the impact of events on EU-Western Balkan relations and potential implications for EU enlargement; finally, the EPC’s Matteo Bonomi provides a comprehensive analysis of the political dynamics resulting from the refugee influx, in particular regarding EU enlargement.

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