An analysis of the European Enlargement Policy through years: the case of Western Balkans

  • MA. Albana Rexha ILIRIA College
Keywords: Enlargement policy, Western Balkans, EU commission, Enlargement credibility, Enlargement fatigue,


No matter its peculiarities, enlargement policy through its conditionality policy instrument is viewed as the most successful EU foreign policy. It is argued that enlargement has strengthened and stabilized democracy in Europe. This review article discusses the enlargement policy towards the Western Balkans since the 2003 Thessaloniki Summit and the Union’s efforts and mechanisms to maintain enlargement at the forefront. These mechanisms include forums and summits of discussion between EU and Western Balkan key actors, various strategies on enlargement, and financial dedications to fostering reform implementation like IPA. The 2003 Summit is considered a critical point in regards to refocusing attention and efforts to enlargement and reaffirming a European future for the Balkan region; therefore, it is important to consider all alternations from that point in time. Thus, the aim is to look at enlargement policy through years and provide an insightful view to the enlargement credibility that allows us to critically review it. To achieve the set goal, this article employees the content analysis methodology. The results show that although the Commission has shown its commitment to enlargement from time to time, the enlargement policy has been at stake at different times from 2003. The raise of the populism right wing parties in Europe, the growth of eurospectis and spread of terrorism are few of the contributing factors to the enlargement fatigue.


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