By: Alexus Esquibel
Abstract: In October of 2019, France, Denmark, and the Netherlands vetoed the opening of European Union (E.U.) accession negotiations with North Macedonia, Albania, and other Balkan states. This rejection was widely disfavored considering most of the states have actively pursued efforts to achieve many of the conditions set out by the E.U. membership applications. Furthermore, this veto could so undermine the Balkans’ efforts towards integration, recognition, and reform as to sway the Balkans to look for allies in Russia or China for economic prosperity. Alternatively, the EU could lose its peak leverage point and see the Balkans halt all progress made in correcting corruption, bilateral disputes, and economic weaknesses. Or the EU, with an upcoming change in EU presidency in 2020, could pursue a renewed enlargement agenda to include the Balkans and establish long-waited cohesion in the developing region. This comment will seek to explain the legal implications of not admitting the Balkans, including why the initial veto was unfavorable, how the tides are changing for enlargement, and the positive impact a true enlargement agenda would have on current E.U. members and the Balkans.
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