Destinations Magazine

Applications Deferred

By Stizzard
Applications deferred

FOR all the Euroscepticism that has swept across the continent in recent years, there is one region where majorities still long to join the European Union: the western Balkans. From Sarajevo to Skopje, governments all want in. Even Serbs, who resented European countries’ role in the wars of former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, now want to join their club: polls show a plurality would vote for accession, though support has declined in recent years.

But although the Balkans may be eager to join the EU, the converse is not necessarily true. The region has slipped “below the radar and is neglected”, worries Tanja Miscevic, Serbia’s chief accession negotiator. Brussels has no vision for the Balkans. And whatever the result of Britain’s Brexit referendum, the tensions it has unleashed may put any further EU enlargement on indefinite hold.

Most Balkan countries that want to join the club are doing well at fulfilling the criteria. Officials in Brussels list many advances made by Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia and Albania. (Macedonia is going backwards.) The glass is “more than half full”, says an EU official. The union’s…

The Economist: Europe

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