Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU: opportunities and challenges

13.August 2018

by Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă 

2019 is a year with heavy symbolism for the European Union – we celebrate 15 years of the CEE enlargement, 30 years since the fall of communist regimes in South-Eastern Europe, but also 20 years since the war in Kosovo and NATO’s bombing of Serbia. Will 2019 be a year of renewed opportunities for the Western Balkans? Will the member states become more enlargement-friendly and opt for a ‘widening EU’ type of scenario? Let me explore some of the challenges and opportunities both for Romania as a member state holding the Presidency, and for the EU itself in relation to the WB countries.

#EURoad2Sibiu via the Western Balkans

06.August 2018

by Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă 

Any discussion about the European Union’s (EU) enlargement is implicitly a discussion on the future of Europe and vice versa. Brexit seems to have brought a visible shift towards exploring the possibilities of including new members, in an EU that has been affected for years by signs of ‘enlargement fatigue’, especially after Romania and Bulgaria’s accession in 2007. The so-called ‘road to Sibiu’ which sought to shape the future of the European Union started in Rome in March 2017 and will come to an end in May 2019. Will we experience then a new 'hour for Europe'? How will the debate on the ‘future of Europe’ affect the Western Balkans’ accession process?

Enlargement and engagement? Making the Western Balkans fit for EU membership

26. March 2018

by Tuure-Eerik Niemi

The Western Balkans have long played a special role in the European Union’s foreign policy. During the Yugoslav Wars in the 1990s, the EU member states failed to act decisively and provide security and stability in the region. Since then, the EU has struggled to come up with a strategic direction for its relations with Western Balkan countries. The prolonged conflicts, economic stagnation, governance issues and Kosovo’s declaration of independence from Serbia have presented a set of significant foreign policy challenges.