Comment 05 Feb 18

EU Should Beware of ‘Cyprus Scenario’ in the Balkans

Brussels risks repeating the same mistake it made with Cyprus with its recent talk of Serbia as a ‘frontrunner’ for EU membership.

Majda Ruge
Aleksandar Vucic, Serba's president attend the event in Belgrade with Milorad Dodik, president of Republika Srpska on February 1. Photo: Beta

The good news from Brussels is that the EU is overcoming its enlargement fatigue and is back in the game in the Western Balkans.

The bad news is that the EU is seriously underestimating the magnitude of political and security challenges in the region. This is particularly true when it comes to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Commission’s Strategy on the Western Balkans, to be announced tomorrow, reportedly plans to identify Serbia and Montenegro as having the best chance to enter the bloc in 2025.

The EU Enlargement Commissioner, Johannes Hahn, has recently framed this in terms of a ‘frontrunner strategy’ invoking the argument of “healthy competition” to justify a strategy that would allow Serbia to enter the EU before Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

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