Communication on a ‘credible enlargement perspective for and enhanced EU engagement with the Western Balkans’

Author (Corporate)
Series Title
Series Details (2018) 65 final (06.02.18)
Publication Date 06/02/2018
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The European Commission unveiled on 6 February 2018 a Strategy to support the Western Balkans region in its efforts to reform, paving the way towards future integration in the European Union.

This Strategy was subject to a presentation and debate at the European Parliament's plenary session on the same day. The President of the European Commission toured the region between 26 February and 1 March.

Further information:

The Strategy sets out a set of specific actions to be undertaken by the European Union to support the transformation efforts of the Western Balkans in areas of mutual interest. It also underlines the need for the EU to be prepared to welcome new Member States once these countries met the criteria.

Six countries are included in this Strategy: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia. Six flgaship initiatives were announced in this framework:

+ Initiative to strengthen the Rule of Law
+ Initiative to reinforce engagement on security and migration
+ Initiative to enhance support for socio-economic development
+ Initiative to increase transport and energy connectivity
+ Initiative for a Digital Agenda for the Western Balkans
+ Initiative to support reconciliation and good neighbourly relations

Therefore, it spells out the priorities and areas of joint reinforced cooperation, addressing the specific challenges facing the Western Balkans. The Strategy also explains the steps that need to be taken by Montenegro and Serbia to complete the accession process in a 2025 perspective.

Background information:

The release of this Strategy follows the statement from the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker during his 2017 State of the Union address, in which he re-affirmed the European future of the Western Balkan countries. The European Council also showed support to the ambition of the region of becoming part of the EU, namely during the March 2017 meeting.

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European Commission: Press Release, 06.02.18: Strategy for the Western Balkans: EU sets out new flagship initiatives and support for the reform-driven region
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Politico, 06.02.18: Mogherini: New Balkan strategy can be EU ‘turning point’
Balkan Insight, 06.02.18: EU’s New Balkans Enlargement Strategy Demands Reforms
The Sofia Globe, 06.02.18: Bulgaria welcomes European Commission adoption of strategy for Western Balkans
EU: EEAS: Speech by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the European Parliament Plenary Session on the Western Balkan Strategy
EU: EEAS: Remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini at the college read-out to present the Western Balkans Strategy
Euro|topics, February 2018: EU wants to accelerate Balkan expansion

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