ESI: EU not ready for Western Balkans, joint economic area could be the solution

NEWS 02.11.2019 13:08
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Source: Reuters

According to a Berlin-based think-tank European Stability Institute (ESI), the existing EU integration model has failed and they suggest a new approach for aspiring Balkan countries – the European Economic Area (EEA) which would open the EU market to the Balkan countries, but they would not be EU members states just yet.

A Kosovo analyst Veton Suroi explained that the EU would thus gain more time to resolve its problems, and in return, the EEA would turn Serbia into a new Switzerland and Kosovo into Norway.

The EEA model was first applied in 1994 when countries like Norway, Switzerland and Island, who did not want to join the union, joined the EEA partnership.

The Berlin-based think-tank also notes that North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo and Bosnia are now entering the phase which Turkey once went through.

But even this idea is faced with obstacles, and they are the Serbia-Kosovo conflict and the situation in Bosnia.
Suori noted that the solution to the Serbia-Kosovo problem could be the joint accession of the entire Western Balkans to the EEA.