Europeanisation meets democracy from below: The Western Balkans Europeanisation meets democracy on the search for new European and democratic Momentum (WB2EU)

Countering the Rule of Law Backsliding in the Western Balkans: By Katrin Böttger / Dominic Maugeais, ÖGfE Policy Brief, 11’2021

Seventeen years after the big round of enlargement of the European Union and with the Conference on the Future of Europe up and running, the EU and the Western Balkan countries are confronted with a serious backsliding of the rule of law. A challenge, which is not only posing a risk for the democratic foundation of the EU but also favors those who argue for a de facto hold on all future enlargements. In their recommendations the authors of this Policy Brief take account of the current state of the EU, the rule of law situation and the democratic backsliding of the (potential) candidate countries in the Western Balkans.

Policy Recommendations

  1. Rule of law and enlargement should be placed high on the agenda of the Conference on the Future of Europe.
  2. The EU and its member states need to increase efforts to promote rule of law in the Western Balkans.
  3. There is a need to pursue the renewal of transatlantic cooperation for countering the rule of law backsliding in the Western Balkans.

The Policy Brief is published in the framework of the WB2EU project. The project aims at the establishment of a network of renowned think-tanks, do-tanks, universities, higher education institutes and policy centres from the Western Balkans, neighbouring countries and EU member states that will be most decisive for the enlargement process and Europeanisation of the region in the upcoming years. The WB2EU project is co-funded by the European Commission under its Erasmus+ Jean Monnet programme.

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