chapter  8
17 Pages

The Balkans and Turkey

The next enlargement of the EU could well include the countries of the western Balkans and Turkey. Given the Union’s internal problems and the prevalence of ‘enlargement fatigue’, no one can predict when the next enlargement will take place. The accession of Bulgaria and Romania in 2007 is likely to increase EU attention on the Balkans, which has been a very difficult policy area for the EU. In the early 1990s the EU failed to deal effectively with the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. It had to rely on the US intervening twice to stop Serbian aggression. The EU’s early failures and the Kosovo war spurred the EU into a more coherent and strategic policy towards the Balkans. Gradually the EU developed a roadmap for membership agreed in Thessaloniki in 2003. The EU played an important role in the downfall of Milosˇevic´ and brokered agreements in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia. The Balkans remains important as instability there, whether political, economic or social, affects the stability of member states. Turkey is a major neighbour of the EU, and its accession would be of a very different order of magnitude from any Balkan country. It is also predominantly Muslim, and this causes hesitation in some European circles.