Biblid: 0025-8555, 71(2019)
Vol. 71, No 1, pp. 5-25
Received: 05 Dec 2018
Accepted: 04 Feb 2019
PROBLEMS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION AND ITS CANDIDATE COUNTRIES’ MUTUAL RELATIONS AND FLEXIBLE ACCESSION AS A POSSIBLE WAY OF REVIVING THE ENLARGEMENT POLICY
RADIĆ MILOSAVLJEVIĆ Ivana (Doktor političkih nauka i asistentkinja na Fakultetu političkih nauka Univerziteta u Beogradu), email@example.com
The article deals with the problem of the Western Balkans countries’ accession and association process impasse. The author finds the key causes of this problem in the very nature of an asymmetric relationship between the EU and these countries with the Stabilization and Association Process laying in its core. Both sides have contributed to this problem: the EU with its overambitious approach to the region, vaguely defined and ever-changing criteria, but also the countries participating in the Process with their uncritical approach to the possible membership, unclearly defined interests and aims, slow reforms, and weak democratic tradition. For the process to be successfully continued, the author discusses the idea of its substantial remodeling towards a flexible process. In light of the frequent discussions about the possible moving of the European integration towards more differentiation, the process of flexible association or accession would enable EU membership only in selected policy areas. The policy areas would be chosen in accordance with the previously clearly defined and thoroughly analyzed interests and capabilities of the candidate and potential candidate countries. The author argues that the association/accession process should be separated as much as possible from the political conditioning in order to decrease the possibility of taking arbitrary decisions on whether the countries have advanced in the process or not. For the Western Balkan countries, this kind of less demanding process would be easier to accomplish and would allow more autonomy in choosing areas of integration and pace of accommodation. For the EU member states, it would provide a way to regain the credibility of its once most successful foreign policy activity.
Keywords: accession, impasse, European Union, Western Balkans, flexibility, differentiated integration