EU enlargement: a never ending hurdle?



This provoking question was in the focus of the second seminar in the framework of the research project “Copenhagen revisited”. This research project is realised jointly by FEPS and the European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity (EFDS). In addition, the event was supported by the Progress Institute for Social Democracy and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung office in Skopje. The conference gathered around 30 international and 50 local participants, with the aim to discuss the main (political) challenges related to enlargement policy for both aspirant countries and EU institutions.

These challenges include, on one hand, internal and bilateral issues of the South-Eastern European countries. Even though accession to the EU is strongly supported in the public opinion, on the short-term nationalism often prevails when dealing with the internal challenges. This approach slows down the process very much. On the other hand, the economic crisis contributed to a shift of priorities within the EU. It seems that the enlargement process has ceased to be a major concern. However, the signing of the accession treaty with Croatia, that is to join in July of 2013, shows that the EU is still committed to the enlargement policy.

Among others, Branko Crvenkovski (leader of the Macedonian social democrats and former President of Macedonia), Jan Marinus Wiersma (Vice-President of the European Forum), Tanja Fajon, Kristian Vigenin, Richard Howitt (MEPs from the S&D Group in the European Parliament) addressed the participants.

The findings of the conference will be included in the publication summarising the results of the research project. This book is due to be published in mid-2012.