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The Western Balkans’ Berlin process: A new impulse for regional cooperation

Written by Velina Lilyanova,

The Western Balkans' Berlin process: A new impulse for regional cooperation

© carlosgardel / Fotolia

The six Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia – are united by the common goal of joining the EU. However, they still face divisions, both infrastructural and political, and are confronted, among other things, by a dire economic situation and bilateral disputes and instability.

In 2014, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced a five-year halt on enlargement. This distancing of the membership prospects, coupled with the realisation that achieving long-term stability and transforming the region could best be secured through economic growth and increased regional cooperation, led to the so-called ‘Berlin process’. Consisting of yearly high-level meetings between the six Western Balkan governments and several EU Member States between 2014 and 2018, this process aims to reaffirm the region’s EU perspective by improving cooperation and economic stability within it. Connectivity is an important aspect of this process, with investment in infrastructure being seen as a means for creating jobs, business opportunities and other benefits. Creating high-level political connections, reconciling societies by stimulating youth exchange and education projects, and resolving outstanding bilateral disputes, while ensuring civil society participation in the whole process, are other significant aspects of this initiative.

The Berlin process enjoys the support of the region and the EU alike, as an initiative bringing a new perspective and impetus to the enlargement process. It has brought a positive momentum for regional cooperation, notably through its projects which are expected to have an economic and social impact that will complement the EU membership ambitions of the individual countries.

Read the complete Briefing on ‘The Western Balkans’ Berlin process: A new impulse for regional cooperation‘ in PDF.


3 thoughts on “The Western Balkans’ Berlin process: A new impulse for regional cooperation


    This whole article hangs on the premise that any country that applies to join the EU – however bloodthirsty, violent, sectarian or anti-democratic its culture – will, eventually, be admitted.

    Who promised this? Who agreed to this? On behalf of how many European citizens?

    It is quite clear to me and many others that some countries and cultures are fundamentally incompatible with ‘European’ values. Those should be told, politely but firmly, that there is no prospect of their being invited to join in any foreseeable future.

    In particular: Serbia.

    Have the Eurocrats forgotten the recent history: from Knin, though Vukovar, Osijek, Dubrovnik, Mostar, Sarajevo, Omarska, Jasenovac, Mitrovica, Stajicevo, Begejci, Nis, Srebrenica, Prekaz, or Rogove? Four wars of aggression; ten years of genocide, ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, violence, institutionalised rape, murder, torture and starvation.

    And not just Milosevic, Mladic, Karadzic and the leadership. I was watching the reports during all those ten years. Not ONCE did any single Serb interviewed – from Milosevic down to ordinary ‘vox pop’ interviewees on the streets – apologise, express shame or remorse, or do anything other than complain that they [the Serbs] were being ‘victimised’. All the while their army and militias were using the ex-Yugoslav Army’s tanks, guns and equipment to terrorise every other republic. Every single Serb showed the same national paranoia, parotting the views of Vuk Draskovich and, more recently, the 1986 SANU Memorandum.

    If the EU has any moral values [something I have serious doubts about], it should make clear once and for all that Serbia is a pariah culture, excluded from the European comity of nations at least until an adequate period – a century or three – of demonstrated civilised behaviour.


    Posted by Giles Cattermole | July 8, 2016, 10:49
  2. No entiendo ingles,este idioma ya no es de ningun pais de la Union Europea El Mi 6/07/16 06:30, European Parliamentary Research Service Blog escribió:

    Members’ Research Service posted: “Written by Velina Lilyanova, The six Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia – are united by the common goal of joining the EU. However, they still face divi”


    Posted by | July 6, 2016, 10:22

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