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What the Fading Promise of EU Accession Means for the Balkans

Sep 11, 2020 | 15:40 GMT
An external view of the building of the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.

An external view of the building of the European Union in Brussels, Belgium.

(EyesWideOpen/Getty Images)

The European Union will not accept any new member states for the foreseeable future, which will erode the promise of EU accession that has made the bloc an influential political and economic force in the Western Balkans. As the fallout from the COVID-19 crisis forces the European Union to remain focused on recovering (and not enlarging) its economy, candidate countries risk veering off from the reforms they had been pursuing to earn their place in the bloc. Non-EU players such as the United States, Russia and China, meanwhile, will likely become more active in the region, seeing European Union's waning presence as an opportunity to assert their own influence in the Balkans....

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