Analysis 07 Feb 18

EU Strategy Exacerbates Winner-Loser Divide in Balkans

While the EU’s new strategy on Balkans gives Serbia and Montenegro reason for optimism about their membership, the other four countries feel out in the cold.

Filip Rudic
Commissioner Hahn and High Representative Mogherini present the enlargement Strategy. Photo: Elyxandro Cegarra/Beta

Serbia and Montenegro have been deemed “frontrunners” in terms of EU membership in the Balkans – although an overview of the issues the individual so-called “Western Balkans six” face offers a more nuanced perspective.

“We are proud to have Serbia recognized as a leader. We worked hard for that, and will have to work even harder in the weeks, months and years ahead,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said, Serbia’s national broadcaster, RTS, reported.

Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, meanwhile said he believed that his country might even join the EU before 2025, which the EU Strategy sets as the year by which Serbia and Montenegro could become members.

“This is a positive signal that sends a clear message to the region that the European perspective for the Western Balkans is credible and ‘alive’,” Markovic said in Podgorica.

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