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Dealing with EU accession in times of uncertainties. From halfway commitments to overlapping agendas


The outbreak of COVID-19 pandemic has put to test EU’s cohesion and effectiveness not only with regards to its internal governance, but also in relation to its strategic partnerships with neighbouring countries, starting from the enlargement countries in the Western Balkans. While a series of multiple crises in the EU were already contributing to cement resistance towards the enlargement agenda, the pandemic seems to have exacerbated pre-existing problems related to this policy, which is today crumbling under the pressure of current emergencies. Indeed, the process of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans is today marred by ambiguities, not providing a clear path towards EU membership. To navigate through these doomy and gloomy days, EU-Western Balkan relations should move from halfway commitments toward a common agenda of tackling the root causes of the current situation, namely the enduring socio-economic entropy and political backsliding in the Western Balkans.