“Europe will be forged in crisis, and will be the sum of the solutions adopted for those crises”Jean Monnet, founding father of the European project
While the war is raging in Ukraine, we might not even recognize what a paradoxical gift we hold in our hands, which is to live in peace. New security risks for Europe as a whole, but especially for fragile regions such as the Western Balkans, have brought the area back into international spotlight and given it a renewed chance to leave conflicts and frictions behind, thus moving towards a common European future.
The Western Balkans were torn apart by its wars in the 1990s and although the prospect of joining the European Union (EU) rose in the early 2000s, the process has proven to be unpleasantly slow. In many aspects, EU enlargement has still not achieved concrete steps towards progressive change so much needed by the people in the region, especially the youth. In consequence, the odds of joining the EU started to fade, driving national and regional Euroscepticism.
However, there will be no stability for the whole European continent without anchoring the Western Balkans firmly within the EU. We believe that the long-term guarantee for peace and prosperity is not only secured by the ink to sign treaties but based on sustainable and ever closer European cooperation for which we need a common vision – our EUtopia.
The Policy Brief is published in the framework of the WB2EU project. The project aims at the establishment of a network of renowned think-tanks, do-tanks, universities, higher education institutes and policy centres from the Western Balkans, neighbouring countries and EU member states that will be most decisive for the enlargement process and Europeanisation of the region in the upcoming years. The WB2EU project is co-funded by the European Commission under its Erasmus+ Jean Monnet programme.
Photo by Guillaume Périgois on Unsplash