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EU to address expansion into Western Balkans


EU to address expansion into Western Balkans

Joseph borell
Photo: European Parliament


Josep Borrell, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, will speak to the press today regarding EU enlargement in the Western Balkans and an investment package for the region.

Croatia is currently the only Western Balkan member of the EU. Serbia and Montenegro are engaging in accession talks, North Macedonia and Albania have begun negotiations, and Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are yet to become official candidates. The EU is the largest foreign investor in these countries and has proposed to invest close to $17 billion between 2021 and 2027. 

However, many countries in the region struggle with corruption and fail to meet EU standards of freedom of expression and commitment to democracy. France’s veto of the Albania and North Macedonia accession talks in 2019 demonstrates that many current member states will demand more democratisation to allow these countries to join.

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Expect Borrell to reaffirm the EU’s commitment to incorporating the Western Balkan states in the next decade, as accession presents an opportunity for Brussels to fight off Russian and Chinese encroachment in the area. Despite the EU’s desire to expand into the region, the states will need to convince sceptical members that they are successfully implementing democratic reforms. If they do so, expect Serbia and Montenegro to be ready for membership by 2025.

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