The European Union reaffirmed its commitment to the admission of six Balkan nations after overcoming the divisions within the socio-political bloc. Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia are the countries in question; their potential membership status has caused much consternation among the 27 EU Member States.
An EU official when asked about the prospect of the bloc’s expansion to the south-east said: âI can’t say that all is wellâ¦ There are of course many problems, but neither can you. more say that the door is closed. Slovenia, currently in the EU Presidency, attempted to pass a resolution that would have committed the EU to absorb the six Balkan states by 2030. However, this was rejected by several member states and was ultimately rejected.
Much of the fear lies with wealthier countries in the West and North of the EU who are skeptical of a series of hasty EU admissions after Romania and Bulgaria joined the EU. Union in 2007. The decision in the midst of the pre-recession economic boom has been widely seen as partly responsible. for growing concerns over immigration, especially in Britain which voted to leave the EU in 2016. Indeed, Romanian emigration doubled from 2006 to 2007, reaching a peak of almost 600,000, Romanian citizens having entered intra-EU labor markets with virtually no limit on free movement of self-employed and self-employed workers within the EU. Moreover, during the five-year period between 2012 and 2017, the number of officially registered Bulgarian citizens increased by 200,000 in Germany alone. In 2018, it was estimated that around 1/7 and 1/5 of Bulgarians and Romanians of working age, respectively, are âmobileâ; which means they live elsewhere. Figures like this border on dystopia as the nations of southeastern Europe grapple with a “gradual emptying” of the land. A 2019 UN report estimates that the region, once a stronghold of poster Sovietism, is home to nine of the ten countries with the fastest declining populations. Bulgaria takes the first place.
Nonetheless, some within the bureaucratic echelons of the world’s largest economy seem optimistic about the prospect of the EU gaining six new constituencies. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, spoke at the summit where the decision was discussed: âWe want them in the European Union, we are one European family. We share the same story, we share the same values ââand I am deeply convinced that we also share the same destiny. However, not all share his pseudo-overt fate aspirations. On the one hand, President Macron, the EU’s emerging technocratic figurehead, appeared to be cautious during his summit speech. While endorsing the idea of ââa political commitment to enlarge the Union to encompass the Balkans, he also referred to governance issues within the EU – arguably a semantic divergence from the notion of ‘ shared values âââ. The Union may have to decide between enlargement and maintaining esteem for Euro-cosmopolitanism.
In addition, as with any diplomatic club bringing together so many different parties, tensions exist between the Member States and the future Member States. Kosovo is a prime example as five EU members have yet to recognize the country since it declared independence from Serbia in 2008. To further complicate matters, Bulgaria vetoed the country in 2019 on official launch of accession negotiations for North Macedonia and Albania. The dispute stems from a linguistic disagreement that the Bulgarian government, in order to appease the nationalist factions of its coalition government (it is believed), considers the language spoken in North Macedonia to be a regional variant of Bulgarian and not a language distinct marrying a unique geography. identity.
Madja Ruge, senior policy researcher at the European Council on Foreign Relations, describes the accession talks as “stalled, messy and, to sum up, quite chaotic”. She also warns that an inconsistent European strategy in the region could precipitate destabilization in an area already prone to the quagmires of self-determination and identification. Tensions between Serbia and Kosovo and a supposedly growing affinity for Chinese and Russian influence from Bosnia and Serbia also helped complicate the membership process, first discussed in 2003. Ultimately , the EU must tread lightly. In a recent editorial, former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt warned that without a concise and clear extension of an offer to join the EU’s customs union and single market, the Balkan region risks escalation. geopolitical disturbances. Such claims are far-fetched in my opinion. This is not a process that should be rushed and the EU’s concern over the coronavirus, chronic migration issues and the seething divisions between autocrats and technocrats within the Union make the likelihood of admission very unlikely. next.