How to deliver the European agenda for the Western Balkans?

What's next next in EU-Western Balkans relations?


Piero Fassino, Chairman, CeSPI; Deputy Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the chamber of Deputies; ECFR Council Member

Pierre Heilbronn, Vice President, Policy and Partnerships, EBRD

Alida Vracic, Visiting Fellow, ECFR

Moderato da

Alba Lamberti, Deputy Director, ECFR

Although the latest European Commission strategy for the Western Balkans reasserted the European perspective for the region, the EU’s enlargement policy is in deep crisis and the situation in the countries of the region has changed dramatically over the past decade. The EU is not the only game in the town anymore and many different actors e.g. Russia, China, Turkey are very much present and influential in the region. Inside the EU, the appetite for further enlargement has all but disappeared despite, in the best-case scenario, not a single country of the region would be ready to join the EU for at least another 5-7 years.

Against this difficult background, how can the EU institutions, supportive member states such as Italy, multi-lateral institutions and civil society actors in the region work together more effectively to continue promote a European agenda?