On 12 December 2019 ESI's deputy chairman Kristof Bender was invited by the Institute for Democracy and Mediation (IDM) to present ESI's ideas on how to reform the EU accession process for the Western Balkans in order to make it credible and transformative again. He spoke on a panel together with Tena Prelec of Oxford University and Zoran Nechev of the Institute for Democracy Societas Civilis in Skopje.
Kristof argued that scepticism towards further enlargement among several key EU member states will not go away anytime soon. For this reason, while keeping the overall goal of full EU membership, the EU should offer a meaningful interim goal: membership in the Single Market. This covers most of the acquis and nearly all of the EU's key policies. The EU should set out detailed lists of criteria to be met and allow all Western Balkan countries to participate in this process immediately. Teams with experts from the European Commission and member states should regularly assess in depth where all countries stand on all of these criteria. They should communicate their findings publicly and in clear language.
For more on this read our latest newsletter and come back to our webpage soon for an upcoming report on this proposal.
- ESI newsletter: Coup de grâce – Delors and squaring the circle – Norway in the Balkans (25 October 2019)
- IDM Albania, conference summery "Policy Forum: Reforming EU enlargement - Tirana's perspective"