Does Central Europe Want the Western Balkans in the EU?

The Czech rotation of the EU presidency moved the ball forward for the accession process, but more needs to be done

10 February 2023

Asya Metodieva

Visegrad Insight Fellow

The EU accession of the Western Balkans has gained new momentum following Russia’s aggression and the granting of EU membership candidate status to Ukraine.

The idea of accelerating the process in favour of the Western Balkan (WB) countries, plus Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia, has been a part of the political discussions concerned with the need for the EU to reaffirm its foreign policy role in the new situation. Not to replace the enlargement process, the European Political Community appeared as a new platform that creates more space for cooperation with the WB countries.

Central European Aid

Central European countries have consistently expressed support for EU integration of the Western Balkans, yet there is much to be done.

The Czech EU Presidency has achieved some progress on long-lasting issues but failed to engage the region in a more unified voice regarding the accession process. The question is if formats like the Visegrád group (V4) can play a meaningful role since the war in Ukraine has dealt a blow to the platform. Alternatively, other Central European formats can offer concrete forms of support for the WB.


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Asya Metodieva

Visegrad Insight Fellow

Visegrad Insight Fellow. Asya Metodieva is a researcher at the Institute of International Relations Prague. She successfully defended her PhD at the Central European University (CEU), Vienna. Her research focuses on radical movements, polarization and information warfare with a focus on the Balkans and more generally Southeast Europe. She holds an MA in Public Policy from CEU and in International Relations and Security Studies from Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski. In 2019 she was a visiting PhD Candidate at the University of Oxford. She held the 2018 Sotirov Fellowship at LSE IDEAS and 2018 Re-think CEE Fellowship of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.


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