What are the expectations in Western Balkans after the EU elections?Adriatic Journal 30 May 2019
The European elections are behind us and the countries of the Western Balkans are waiting in anticipation to see if the new parliament will embark on a different course when it comes to the policy towards their region.
In his op-ed for the Balkan Insight, Jasmin Mujanović, a political scientist, belives that the Green’s strong showing in the elections could be good news for the Western Balkans. It »offers an opportunity for the EU to change course with regards to the Western Balkans.«.
But the Greens are yet to prove themselves if they are »capable advocates for the future of enlargement«, Mujanović warns.
In Montenegro, analysts believe the elections have brought nothing new. Momčilo Radulović, president of the European Movement in Montenegro, argues in a comment to Pobjeda that “it’s not good that the number of addresses which create main directions of the European policy is increasing.”
“We’ve had two main influential actors so far, and now there will be even more, coming from various political structures that are going to have a significant impact on the functioning of EU institutions.”
In Serbia, analysts also conclude that the new European parliament is unlikely to bring about change in policy towards their country. In a comment to TV Prva, Mihajlo Crnobrnja, president of the European Movement in Serbia, argues that whoever replaces Donald Tusk, Jean-Claude Juncker or Frederica Mogherini, will make no difference to Serbia.
“Is it in our interest that the establishment parties win or the populists? The difference is small. Remember Macron’s statement that “we will not receive (new members) until we reset the EU. (Enlargement) is not the priority of either sides as it was in 2004 with socialist countries. Back then, the expansion was a priority. Unfortunately, this is not the case today”, Crnobrnja explained.
Jasenko Selimović, a Swedish MP in the European Parliament, confirmed to Bosnia’s Klix.ba that there will be no major changes in the EU’s policy towards the region.
“The countries of the Balkans will continue to be welcomed in the EU, but the speed of the process will depend, as before, on the adoption and implementation of reforms in the Balkan countries. I hope that BiH will rapidly adopt the rules of procedure that has in the past prevented the work of the committee and interparliamentary meetings have been disrupted for almost five years. Other countries in the region have had regular meetings of that committee in recent years, so I hope that BiH will also approve the rules of procedure and start organising these meetings. Other reforms are dependent on BiH politicians, but the EU’s door will continue to be open to BiH and the Western Balkans,” Selimović concluded.
Although he is generally perceived as being a eurosceptic, Italian prime minister Matteo Salvini doesn’t seem to be against the EU enlargement, according to B92. The site reports that Salvini made a following comment shortly after the elections:
“That Serbia should be part of the European Union is something that is geographically, socially and culturally interesting, while Turkey does not have a tangible connection with it (EU). Expanding (EU) and intelligent inclusion of some of the closest nations, why not?” Salvini said according to B92.
Let’s wait and see.