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Policy Dialogue
EU enlargement to the Balkans: all on board!

Thursday, 03 May 2018

The European Commission’s new strategy for the Western Balkans, published earlier this year, aims to reset the clock on the European Union’s enlargement policy and was heralded by Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s first tour of the region. Meanwhile, the upcoming release of a new round of country reports will give a clearer picture of where each aspiring member stands and how the Commission’s strategy can best be realised. For the first time in years, there are encouraging signals coming from Brussels for the Balkan countries’ accession prospects.

But with summits planned in Sofia and London, the focus of EU enlargement policy is shifting from the Commission to the member states. Although some member states have become more closely involved in the enlargement dossier, such as via the Berlin Process, enlargement policy remains intergovernmental and politically sensitive across Europe. How has the new strategy been received in the member states? How can the Commission and the Balkan countries garner support for enlargement in EU capitals? What role can the Council Presidencies play in this regard and what can we expect from the high-level summits in Sofia and London? This Policy Dialogue was organised by the European Policy Centre (EPC) in cooperation with the European Commission’s DG NEAR.

Speakers included: Corina Stratulat, Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre, Christian Danielsson, Director General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission, Gergana Karadjova, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Bulgaria to the Political and Security Committee of the EU, Fiona Mcllwham, Director, Western Balkans department, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, United Kingdom, Srdjan Majstorovic, President of the Governing Board, Centar za evropske politike-CEP, Belgrade.

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