Western Balkans Integration into European Union: Challenges and Consequences

Zenun Halili


This paper is intended to analyze the challenges and consequences of the integration of Western Balkans to the European Union. Specifically, in the first case, challenges of this integration path and in the second case the consequences as a result of eventual stagnation in this path. For more than a century, the Western Balkans region has been seeking its way of European transformation. The region remains in the agenda of European Union expansion, but even after two decades of promises, the integration of Western Balkan countries to EU is not certain. The integration journey is first of all closely connected to building the institutional capacities, adoption of laws, rules, norms and European behavior in the domestic policymaking. Therefore, the challenges are converted into obstacle or inability to the establishment of values, identity, institutional and social aspects in the Western Balkan countries, whereas the consequences are reflected as derivatives of failure to accomplishing the membership of the region to EU. Based on the research conducted on this issue, this study argues that such challenges as lack of rule of law, high levels of corruption and organized crime are derivatives of historical legacy and political elite efforts to capture the state or dominate certain state resources, as well as of the EU approach towards this region. This study is important particularly in this aspect and unequivocally presents the common and separate challenges of the Western Balkans towards integration into the European Union. Along with this realistic presentation, the consequences themselves appear which first of all are not only to the detriment of the Western Balkans.


integration; challenges; consequences; European Union; Western Balkans

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