EU has to understand that it’s not the only player in the region

Tanja Domi

Professor at the Harriman institute at the Columbia University, Ms Tanya Domi, said that the initiative of 13 EU Member States wouldn’t necessarily accelerate the WB integration process. The Netherlands, on the other side, will take a stern line on the enlargement.

“I agree with the Czech Prime Minister, Mr Andrej Babiš, who said that in case enlargement possibilities were exacerbated, that wouldn’t be a good thing for the EU”, said Ms Domi.

Last week 13 EU Member States asked for the acceleration of WB euro-integration process and opening pre-accession negotiation process with North Macedonia and Albania in June.

The Netherlands, one of the key EU Member States, refused to accept opening negotiation process between Albania and the EU whereas the Dutch parliament accepted starting negotiation process with North Macedonia.

Asked if the key players in the EU will still have the main word, Ms Domi says that the EU will have to be more realistic.

“I think EU institutions will keep doing their job, just like Balkan candidate countries. However, EU should face the reality in the Balkans: EU isn’t the only game in the town. I think that the vacuum of weakened UK caused by Brexit vote and continuous US withdrawal affects the region in the context of developing democracy. No geo-political competitor is known for being an ardent advocate of democracy. They are dominated by neo-liberal governments”, says Ms Domi.

She sees the decision of the Netherlands as the Dutch PM’s attempt to act as counterweight to Paris and Berlin in harmonizing the Dutch with France in order to oppose Albania.

“It’s well known that the Netherlands thinks that the EU accession of Romania and Bulgaria happened too soon, and I think it’s obvious they are trying to slow the enlargement process down. Albania is at a very bad moment now. Whoever is governing that country should deal with corruption”, said Ms Domi.

Asked if the Dutch will take the stern line even when Montenegro is concerned, Ms Domi believes that they will keep imposing veto on the enlargement process.


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