On 3rd December 2018, the European Movement International and the European Movement Serbia are organising a conference titled EU Enlargement 2025 and Beyond in Brussels to discuss the policy paper Twelve proposals for EU enlargement from the Western Balkans, developed by the European Movement Serbia. Furthermore, participants will have the opportunity to hear different perspectives on EU Enlargement from European Movement in Montenegro and Regional Cooperation Council.
The paper was prepared in cooperation with partners from all the other Western Balkans countries. The paper demonstrates that enlargement is feasible by the end of 2025 for the frontrunners, Serbia and Montenegro, and in the foreseeable future for the rest of the WB, if the manner in which enlargement is conducted is altered and adapted to the regional context. The paper proposes actions to be taken for such alterations, summarized in twelve proposals in the conclusion. These proposals could add impetus to the enlargement process and make it easier for the candidates to fulfill the accession criteria while not diluting membership conditions or creating shortcuts to membership.
In February 2018, the European Commission published the Communication ‘A Credible Enlargement Perspective for and Enhanced EU Engagement with the Western Balkans‘, providing directions for future activities with the ultimate goal to enlarge to the WB by the end of 2025. However, after Sofia EU-WB summit it was evident that, both in the EU and in the WB, there is no critical mass to use all available resources for implementing the WB 2025 project. The outcome of the 2019 European Parliament elections, the composition of the new Commission, situation in the EU member states, finalisation of Brexit and the adoption of the new MFF 2021-2027 would set the tone of enlargement after 2020.
Nevertheless, it must be stressed that enlargement is a successful EU policy, maybe the most successful one in the foreign policy arena. In order for enlargement to remain credible as a policy and EU as a policy actor in the WB region, the way enlargement is run needs to change.