A few weeks ago, France’s, Denmark’s and Netherland’s decision to block the negotiation process for North Macedonia’s and Albania’s candidacy to the EU, provoked an outcry among Western Balkans countries but also among other EU Heads of State. This event was followed by French President Macron’s virulent comment about Bosnia and Herzegovina, which still has the status of a potential candidate, calling the latter a “ticking time bomb”.
This was undoubtedly a way to introduce his proposal on reforming the current EU enlargement policy, an unformal paper of a few pages, submitted to EU governments, where he suggests a more “gradual” and “reversible” process. Even if not welcomed by most of the EU member states, arguing that some steps towards European values will be completed by the (potential) candidates only after joining the union, 6 EU member states declared their support for this potential reform.
An unanimity about the reform would lead the European Commission to submit a legal document by January 2020. Although nothing has been decided yet, this paper aims at analysing the reasons which led the French President to make such a suggestion, as well as the impact on the Western Balkans regions as a whole, if such a huge change occurs, almost 20 years after the first conditions of a potential EU accession have been set up.
POLICY PAPER | Towards a new approach in the Western Balkans: a potential reform of EU’s enlargement policy?
— Vocal Europe (@thevocaleurope) January 7, 2020