Enlargement to the Balkans: one step forward, two steps back

12 December 2011
Rosa Balfour (Senior Adviser to EPC on Europe in the World) and Corina Stratulat (Head of European Politics and Institutions programme and Senior Policy Analyst)

Croatia’s signing of its EU Accession Treaty at last Friday’s European Summit was a step forward on enlargement policy. But the EU took two steps backwards when the member states postponed a decision on giving Serbia candidate status and Montenegro a date for the start of accession negotiations until the upcoming General Affairs Council in February and the European Council meeting in March.

In this Commentary, Rosa Balfour and Corina Stratulat argue that this outcome is not the wisest use of EU’s most precious ‘carrot’ – membership. If the EU does not manage to strike the right balance between incentives and conditions after Croatia’s entry, the authors argue that it could lose the Balkans once again.

Enlargement to the Balkans