The future of EU enlargment is in change of the approach towards the western balkan countries

Daliborka Uljarević, executive director of the CCE, takes part at the two days long experts’ workshop (15-16 April) organised in Brussels by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation entitled “The future of Enlargement: preparing for Thessaloniki II”. The purpose of the event is to discuss the challenges that the enlargement process is facing, both from the side of EU members and from the side of candidate and potential candidate countries. On the occasion, she presented the main challenges that Montenegro is and still has to face in its accession negotiation with the European Union, problems that may slow down the path itself, focusing on the recent political and corruption affairs that can affect the willingness of EU countries in proceeding with enlargement towards Western Balkans.

The event included dinner debate in which the key note speech was given by Stefano Sannino, Director General of DG Enlargement, who spoke with 14 experts from the Western Balkan countries and Europe about the challenges of the enlargement process ten years after the Thessaloniki summit in June 2003.

In the 2003 declaration the EU reiterated its unequivocal support to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries. The future of the Balkans is within the European Union. Now, ten years later, the Enlargement process seems to be suffering from two interrelated diseases: on one hand, the EU is facing a profound inner existential crisis and, on the other hand, responses by acceding countries in tackling and fulfilling EU requirements have not been provided in a rapid and qualitative manner, thus exacerbating the resentment from member states. The workshop will address challenges of the enlargement for EU and its member countries, challenges for the Western Balkan countries and the elements of innovation that
would allow a new approach in the enlargement policy. The workshop represents a tool to present situation from both perspectives in an objective way and to further discuss which strategies can be put in a place to allow, on one side, to proceed with the enlargement and, also, to guarantee respect of all requirements in a period of time that do not distress acceding countries nor member states.

Ms. Daliborka Uljarević is the only participant from Montenegro at this expert meeting. During her interventions she has reflected on the enlargement as a challenge for the EU and its member states, as well as accession as a challenge for the Western Balkan countries, with specific focus on Montenegro and the latest political developments and possible new role of
the EU in further democratisation processes of Montenegro.

Chiara Gaia Iascone, Programme associate