The Norwegian Institute of International Affairs, NUPI, in cooperation with the European Union Delegation to Norway have the pleasure of inviting to a joint seminar:

The future of EU Enlargement after Croatia
With the inclusion of Croatia as the 28th member of the European Union on 1 July, the EU has proven that one of its main successes, the enlargement, continues despite the economic crises sweeping Europe. The success of EU enlargement lies foremost in its contribution to democratization and liberalization of political institutions and markets within the new member states. This has increased the quality of life for its citizens and enhanced stability and peace in Europe.

However, the countries waiting in line after Croatia in the Western Balkans are facing challenges the Central and Eastern European states did not. FYROM*, Montenegro,Serbia (plus Iceland and Turkey) have candidate status, whereas Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are potential candidates. Not only is the political and economic climate for enlargement less conducive, but the reminiscence of the violent recent past remains a challenge for the neighbourly relations and stability. However, the larger European peace project cannot be seen as completed until these countries are integrated into the EU. Pertinent questions are therefore:

  • What comes after Croatia? What is the prospect and timeline for the rest?
  • What Croatian membership help speed up future enlargement or will it create new challenges for those in line?
  • Is the prospect of EU membership sufficient to mend and overcome the deeper political challenges in the region related to the past, or is there a risk that the enlargement process will halt or lose its crucial momentum?