Event Title

“New regional integration initiatives for the Western Balkans as substitutes for EU accession”

Session

Political Science

Description

This paper examines new initiatives for “regional integration” of Western Balkans, as an alternative to full EU integration. Three decades since the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, ideas on its reincarnation are re-actualized. Now; within “European” label. Although since 2014 “Berlin Process” for the Western Balkans was launched as EU-WB platform for speeding their accession trough regional cooperation, scholars and diplomats are discussing other alternatives to full EU accession, in the form of “regional economic integration”. According to these initiatives, they will be integrated regionally under Serbian leadership, replacing their initial EU integration with Balkans sub-integration. In October 2019 Serbia launched in Novi Sad “Balkans Mini- Schengen”, which was further discussed in Ohrid and Tirana in the same year. Due the non participation of three other countries (Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina), that idea “slept” till mid of 2021 when Balkans troika of: Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia re-discussed it in Skopje meeting of 29 July 2021 and re-named it as “Open Balkans”. In parallel to that Serbian initiative, in the beginning of 2021 other alternatives to full membership circulated: from “free trade zone EU- WB to “differentiated integration/associated membership”. Due to status quo of EU enlargement and opposition of EU member states for accepting new members, likely for the Western Balkans will offer other alternatives to full membership, as a kind of trade integration with the block without political integration. European promises will replace European perspective which was proclaimed two decades ago. But, letting the Western Balkans out of EU will produce security risks and will challenge geostrategic interests of the whole Europe.

Keywords:

EU, Western Balkans, Enlargement, Accession, EU integration, Accession’s substitutes

Proceedings Editor

Edmond Hajrizi

ISBN

978-9951-550-47-5

Location

UBT Kampus, Lipjan

Start Date

30-10-2021 12:00 AM

End Date

30-10-2021 12:00 AM

DOI

10.33107/ubt-ic.2021.251

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Oct 30th, 12:00 AM Oct 30th, 12:00 AM

“New regional integration initiatives for the Western Balkans as substitutes for EU accession”

UBT Kampus, Lipjan

This paper examines new initiatives for “regional integration” of Western Balkans, as an alternative to full EU integration. Three decades since the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia, ideas on its reincarnation are re-actualized. Now; within “European” label. Although since 2014 “Berlin Process” for the Western Balkans was launched as EU-WB platform for speeding their accession trough regional cooperation, scholars and diplomats are discussing other alternatives to full EU accession, in the form of “regional economic integration”. According to these initiatives, they will be integrated regionally under Serbian leadership, replacing their initial EU integration with Balkans sub-integration. In October 2019 Serbia launched in Novi Sad “Balkans Mini- Schengen”, which was further discussed in Ohrid and Tirana in the same year. Due the non participation of three other countries (Kosovo, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina), that idea “slept” till mid of 2021 when Balkans troika of: Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia re-discussed it in Skopje meeting of 29 July 2021 and re-named it as “Open Balkans”. In parallel to that Serbian initiative, in the beginning of 2021 other alternatives to full membership circulated: from “free trade zone EU- WB to “differentiated integration/associated membership”. Due to status quo of EU enlargement and opposition of EU member states for accepting new members, likely for the Western Balkans will offer other alternatives to full membership, as a kind of trade integration with the block without political integration. European promises will replace European perspective which was proclaimed two decades ago. But, letting the Western Balkans out of EU will produce security risks and will challenge geostrategic interests of the whole Europe.