A EUROPEAN WESTERN BALKANS BY 2030
The EU remains committed to its enlargement strategy for the six Western Balkan countries that could tentatively join the Union by 2030. EU’s $6 billion New Growth Plan for the Western Balkans grants the six countries access to specific segments of EU’s single market, boosts regional economic cooperation, accelerates fundamental reforms, and increases EU’s financial assistance to the region. Reforms in rule of law, particularly in judiciary, are key requirements for EU accession. The geopolitical dynamics revived the EU’s interest for expansion and raised hopes of aspiring members for accelerated integration. The EC’s recommendation for the opening of accession talks with Ukraine and Moldova and granting the candidate status to Georgia are building momentum also for the Western Balkan integration.
To discuss the region’s European future, the Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG) in cooperation with the German Federal Foreign Office (AA) organized a roundtable on November 10, 2023, in Pristina, Kosovo, for a number of political party representatives, current and former members of parliaments and political pundits from the Western Balkan. The participants discussed the current state of affairs in the region and how various policies and regional economic initiatives could pave the way for EU integration. Senior EU officials and diplomats also participated in the discussion where they offered a regional overview from an external viewpoint and how to contribute to developing a more effective strategy in fostering the Western Balkans’ regional cooperation. Below is the report of the discussions.