Preoccupied with its financial troubles, the EU is no longer paying attention to the Western Balkans. As a result it is losing credibility and influence in a region that may slide back towards instability. The EU's foreign ministers urgently need to rethink their policies towards the Balkans.
This is the main conclusion of Beyond Wait-and-See: The Way Forward for EU Balkan Policy, a policy brief by Balkan experts Heather Grabbe, Gerald Knaus, and Daniel Korski, published by the European Council on Foreign Relations.
The EU's "wait-and-see" approach to the Western Balkans needs to be rethought to sustain the progress of the last couple of years, and avert the threat of future instability. Grabbe, Knaus, and Korski argue that the EU needs to use the EU-Balkan summit in Sarajevo on June 2 to announce an intention to boost the EU's engagement in the Western Balkans. This will keep them on the path to stability, prosperity, and eventual EU membership.
The full brief is available for download.
In addition to this policy brief and ahead of the June 2, 2010, Sarajevo high-level meeting, organized by the Spanish Presidency, over 450 civil society organizations from the Western Balkans submitted a statement where they called for new impetus to the process of accession of the Western Balkan countries to the EU, and a clearly-defined road towards their full-fledged membership in the European Union.