Journal of Common Market Studies, 2014, Vol. 52, No. 1, December 2013
19 Pages Posted: 19 Aug 2013
Date Written: 2013
The enlargement of the European Union (EU) continues in the Western Balkans in the 2010s because the underlying dynamics remain largely the same. I argue that EU member states still see enlargement as a matter of national interest bringing economic and geopolitical benefits over the long term. The risk of instability in the Western Balkans has made the dividends from the EU’s “democratizing effect” especially substantial. I also argue that the enlargement process continues to have a ‘democratizing effect’ as Western Balkans candidates and proto-candidates respond to the incentives of EU membership: political parties have changed their agendas to make them EU-compatible, and governments have implemented policy changes to move forward in the pre-accession process. Yet the EU is taking on candidates with difficult initial conditions: I explore the changes that the EU has made in order to exercise its leverage more effectively in the Western Balkans, and whether these have helped overcome problems with expertise, consistency and legitimacy in the EU’s pre-accession process.
Keywords: democratization, external actors, European Union, EU enlargement, political parties, Western Balkans
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
Vachudova, Milada Anna, EU Leverage and National Interests in the Balkans: The Puzzles of Enlargement Ten Years On (2013). APSA 2013 Annual Meeting Paper; American Political Science Association 2013 Annual Meeting. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2299581