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Sixty Minute Briefing
Reforming enlargement policy?

Tuesday, 18 February 2020


Olivér Várhelyi
European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement


Corina Stratulat
Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre

The European Council’s failure to reach a decision on opening accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in October exposed the EU’s lack of unity on enlargement, raising the prospect of an overhaul of the whole policy approach. For the countries awaiting accession, the question is whether the reform will preserve their European perspective, or whether it will mean more time spent in the waiting room. In his first official visit to the Western Balkans, the new European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi chose to visit North Macedonia and Albania first, recognising the high hopes – and expectations – in these countries.
The European Commission has just published a communication on the EU enlargement strategy, which includes proposals for reforming the enlargement methodology. What are these proposals, and what do they mean for the Western Balkans? Will the new policy allow for reversibility in the EU accession path, as suggested by the French non-paper? Will the new ideas be enough to satisfy the member states and open the door to an agreement by the next EU-Western Balkan summit in May? Commissioner Várhelyi will discuss these and other issues. The Briefing will be moderated by Corina Stratulat, EPC Senior Policy Analyst.

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