Western-Balkan-Six Strategy Group:
The German and Croatian Council presidencies must overcome the blockade of the EU enlargement policy
Publication of the policy paper ‘Western Balkan 6 Strategy Group for an effective EU enlargement policy’
Brussels/Belgrade – The review of the EU enlargement policy strategy should not become a bargaining chip in the EU political reform negotiations. The fact that the decision on accession has been postponed as a result of the Council meeting in October 2019, has already created a vacuum which benefits ethno-nationalist tendencies in the region as well as external destructive forces. It now applies to Croatia and Germany, together with France and other EU member states, to find a compromise to improve the enlargement policy and put forward concrete steps to take before the Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb in May 2020.
The Strategy Group consists of renowned members of approved organisations and institutions with background in legal, historical and political research from Bosnia and Hercegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, Albania, North Macedonia and Montenegro. These experts represent progressive and pro-European voices in their countries and help shaping the public discourse. The group was established as a transnational consultation project in spring 2019 in cooperation with Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung. In November 2019, the group addressed the EU enlargement question in various exchanges with representatives of Brussels-based think-tanks, the European Parliament and Commission during their work visit in Brussels. The present paper highlights concrete recommendations to the upcoming Council presidencies and European institutions as well as for the future Western Balkan policy of the EU, focusing on North Macedonia and Albania, the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, and the Council presidency of Croatia.
According to the Strategy Group, the current Croatian policy is alarming given the relativization of crimes and violent acts during the Second World War as well as during the war in Bosnia. The Group calls on the government in Zagreb to resett the course and to support the EU integration process constructively instead of escalating neighbourhood-politics towards Bosnia and Herzegowina.
The policy paper can be found here.