Maja Kovačević

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Faculty of Political Science, University of Belgrade



The fact that the European Union’s (EU) enlargement policy is in crisis is nothing new. For years now, it has been suffering from the ‘business as usual’ approach and disguising the enlargement fatigue and EU member states’ disagreement over widening and deepening the integration. In this article we applied Frank Schimmelfennig and Ulrich Sedelmeier’s external incentives model to the Europeaniyation of Western Balkans, which confirms that the decline of credibility is the most important factor in the decline of the Europeanization effects of the actual EU’s enlargement policy. By setting 2025 as the indicative accession year for frontrunners, the 2018 Enlargement Strategy gave rise to some hope for candidate countries. Just year and a half later, however, the October 2019 meeting of the European Council and the French veto over opening negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia revealed a less optimistic scenario of changing the enlargement methodology. The goal of this article is to critically explore the revised enlargement methodology presented by the European Commission. The main thesis of the article is that it is not the methodology that is at the heart of the failure of the transformative effect of the enlargement process, but in fact it is the lack of EU’s strategic political approach to its enlargement. In recent years, the enlargement policy gradually became more detailed and better organised, providing the EU with a variety of veto points: the negotiating chapters that cover the area of judiciary/fundamental rights and justice/freedom/security are opened at the beginning of the negotiations and remain open until their very end; specific opening, interim, and closing benchmarks are introduced for each chapter, and so on. Moreover, in the negotiating frameworks with Montenegro and Serbia, the EU introduced the “balance clause” through which it can discontinue negotiations on other chapters if progress in the area of judiciary and fundamental rights, justice, freedom and security starts to lag behind. In addition, as clearly stated in the EU’s negotiating frameworks, accession negotiations are not an irreversible process. Therefore, it seems that the revised 2020 methodology has other goals. While a much-needed high-level political engagement through regular EU-Western Balkans summits and intensified ministerial contacts could provide the process with added value, it seems that proposed clusters are paving the way for future permanent differentiated membership forms.


European Union’s Common Security and Defence Policy Operations in the Mediterranean: Missions Impossible

Arab Spring, Libyan crisis and subsequent explosion of migration created ‘perfect storm’ for the European Union (EU), challenging the EU as security actor. This research apply Christopher Hill’s capability-expectations gap concept on the CSDP, more specifically to the EU’s response to the crisis in the Mediterranean, focusing on two aspects. One is the (in)capacity to reach a collective decision, as demonstrated in the EU’s response to Libyan crisis 2011. Second aspect is related to the ambitions of the EU’s crisis management, focusing on high expectations raised by the EU itself by defining overambitious and unrealistic mandates for three CSDP missions in the Mediterranean: EUFOR Lybia, EUBAM Lybia and EUNAVFOR MED. The main thesis of this article is that the EU’s actions as security actor in the Mediterranean represents a major setback for the CSDP, leading to the disillusion when it comes to the EU’s capabilities of providing security in its own neighborhood.


In the Bermuda Triangle? The European Union’s Enlargement Policy, Common Foreign and Security Policy and Unfinished States in the Western Balkans

Twenty years of the European Union’s (EU) action as a strategic actor in the process of political and economic reforms of former communist countries has created enough experience based on which it is possible to thoroughly analyse the influence that the European integration has had on the success of transformation of these countries. In a self-imposing comparison, the process of European integration of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) countries can be evaluated as much more successful than it is the case with the Western Balkan countries. Such course of events can only be explained by an overall consideration of all the factors having a decisive influence on the relationship between the EU and the Western Balkan countries. This paper implies that the concept of Europeanization based on the external incentive is not enough to explain such a course of the European integration process of the Western Balkan countries. Another important factor is the EU Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) action that contributed not only to the spreading of phenomenon of unfinished countries in the Western Balkans but also to the decreased efficiency of the instruments of enlargement policy itself.