20 years on from the EU’s promise of enlargement to the Western Balkans, the policy has run out of rope. Those EU member states that are pushing it are doing so for the wrong reasons, e.g. b/c they want to enlarge the EU’s caucus of illiberals (Hungary). Those who insist on...
…tough conditions of democratic reform (e.g., The Netherlands) do so because their domestic constituencies are hostile to the very idea of enlargement, and in particular the admission of majority Muslim countries such as BiH, Kosovo, Albania.
The result is that the policy has empowered local strongmen à la Vučić and Rama while ordinary citizens are disillusioned and cynical and wait for the bus to Germany. Russia and China are making inroads - not b/c they have much to offer but because the EU’s offer is so weak.
You would think that this state of affairs should be bleak enough to trigger a policy review, yet the EU is on bureaucratic autopilot or actively pushing the retrograde agendas of its local associates, aided by a captured domestic and international “civil society.”

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