1 May 2008
Ready to be EU candidates? Albania and Montenegro in 2008
Dear friends of ESI,
In recent days ESI asked leading Europeanizers - officials promoting the EU agenda in Montenegro, Albania, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia - about their expectations for 2008. The responses we received may surprise some policy makers in Europe: it is possible that this year all Western Balkan states who have not done so already might formally apply to become candidates to join the EU.
These applications could come forward under either the Slovenian or the French EU presidencies, most likely in the wake of the upcoming Irish referendum on the Treaty of Lisbon.
In fact, Montenegro is likely to apply for EU membership before the end of June. The leader of the Albanian opposition, Edi Rama, has urged the Albanian government in a speech in Brussels this week to prepare a membership application for September, not to fall behind. Bosnia might submit an application this year as well, a senior Bosnian official told us in Paris a few days ago. And the head of the Serbian Directorate for European integration told ESI that Serbia has been preparing to submit an application for EU membership for many years, pending the signature of a Stabilisation and Association Agreement and dependent on the results of the upcoming elections.
For more details about all these interviews, made in Paris and Brussels, please visit our background section Adriatic push for Balkan enlargement.
Wild Beauty and the return to Europe
Last Sunday the first episode of the 10 part documentary series Return to Europe was broadcast on the German-Austrian-Swiss channel 3sat: Montenegro – Wild Beauty. The whole series, an investigative journey through the Balkans, is based on ESI research. On Monday an English version of the Albania episode of this series – Albanian Renaissance – was also shown at an event in Brussels hosted by the European Policy Centre.
Next Sunday, 4 May, 3Sat will broadcast Cutting the Lifeline (a documentary on Kosovo) at 9 pm. In upcoming months this documentary series will be shown at many public events and broadcast on other television channels.
As background to this series we also prepared a bilingual (German/English) background section on our website. Its address is easy to remember: www.returntoeurope.org.
There we present the people, the places and the issues which appear in these films. We also offer – with the support of ERSTE Foundation and preTV - clips, pictures and background interviews. Thus you can find this week the opening sequence of the Montenegro film and background material on Montenegro's dominant political figure, Milo Djukanovic, addressing open questions of Montenegro's recent past, and interviews explaining Montenegro's patchwork identity.
The content on www.returntoeurope.org will grow rapidly in the coming weeks. In fact, the more people take advantage of this free offer of information on the Balkans, the more material – including clips – we will be able to make available online! If you find it interesting please help us make it more widely known by spreading the word.
Many best regards,