Interview 06 Oct 16

EU’s Crisis Will Slow Balkan Accession, Expert Says

Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, says the EU is likely to slow accession talks with the Balkan countries in the context of ‘huge resistance’ to enlargement.

Mariya Cheresheva
Mark Leonard. Photo: ECFR

Mark Leonard, founder and director of the pan-European think tank, the European Council on Foreign Relations, says a big push from the European Council to speed up accession negotiations with Southeastern European states would most likely create a backlash among EU member states opposed to further enlargement.

Apart from leading the ECFR, which has offices in six European capitals, Leonard writes a syndicated column on global affairs for Reuters and chairs the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Geo-economics.

“There is a huge resistance to the idea of enlargement in many member states at the moment,” he told BIRN in an interview.

He adds that it is no coincidence that the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, did not even mention enlargement in his annual “state-of-the-union” address in September. 

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