In recent months, Europe has moved into great uncertainty. This uncertainty threatens to unravel some of the pillars of stability on the European continent that have been in place for decades. Western European democracies have well-developed civil societies, strong political parties and established media that can provide a bulwark against these challenges.
Democracies in Southeast Europe are more fragile. They have been backsliding for nearly a decade and a number of countries are governed by semi-authoritarian leaders whose commitment to democracy is lukewarm at best. The main driving force for democracy and reform has been EU integration, and its ability to provide an incentive for countries to reform, to strengthen democratic institutions and to result in reform-oriented liberal democratic governments. But, this main magnet for change in the Balkans has dramatically reduced its intensity. The members of the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group have been reflecting on this subject and the result is the policy brief “EU Enlargement in the Western Balkans in a Time of Uncertainty” which offers some strategies for the Balkans in an Uncertain World.Download publication