UDC 341.217.2(4-672EU:497.11)
Biblid: 0025-8555, 71(2019)
Vol. 71, No 1, pp. 80-106
DOI: https://doi.org/10.2298/MEDJP1901080T

Оriginal article
Received: 06 Dec 2018
Accepted: 04 Feb 2019

CHALLENGES OF THE ENLARGEMENT POLICY IN THE LIGHT OF EUROPEAN UNION TRANSFORMATION: IS THE RISE OF EUROSCEPTICISM IN SERBIA INEVITABLE?

TODOROVIĆ LAZIĆ Jelena (Naučni saradnik u Institutu za političke studije, Beograd), todorovic.j82@gmail.com

The EU Summit in Thessaloniki in 2003 is often referred to as a milestone in the relations between the Western Balkans and the European Union because the region was given strong promises of a prospective European perspective through the Stabilization and Association Process. However, the initial enthusiasm that followed has melted over the coming years because the expectations of most countries in the region have not been met (with the exception of Croatia that became an EU member in 2013). Even though we get assurances from the Brussels that they will not give up on enlargement, it is obvious that this issue is not on the list of priorities of the EU at the moment. Not only that its decisiveness to encompass with enlargement the Western Balkans is on shaky grounds due to the numerous challenges that the EU is facing at the moment, but such decline in interest leads to a decline in interest in the countries of the mentioned region that are currently in the accession process. This further leads to the rise in Euroscepticism for which the Western Balkans is a breeding ground. The reasons for Euroscepticism existed even before the enlargement has been brushed aside from the Union agenda (those were mostly reasons related to pre-accession strategy for candidate countries/potential candidates and were present even in the case of countries of Eastern and Central Europe, even though there were also reasons specific for each of these countries.). However, it seems they have become stronger with the new developments in the Union. Incertitude of membership affects the rise of negative attitudes towards the Union in the public opinion of these countries which becomes manifest if we look at numerous public opinion polls. The focus of this paper will be the interpretation of the results of the research that the Institute for Political Studies conducted on an annual basis from 2015 to 2018.

Keywords: Enlargement Policy, Euroscepticism, European Union, Western Balkans, Serbia