Working visit EU enlargement: Beyond promises

Fri 29 Jun 2012

Working visit EU enlargement: Beyond promises

From 18- 22 June the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS), the European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity, and the Dutch Foundations the Alfred Mozer Stichting (AMS) and the Wiardi Beckman Stichting (WBS) held the third seminar in the framework of the Copenhagen Revisited Project “EU enlargement: Beyond promises”. The objective of the Copenhagen revisited project is to critically assess the EU enlargement process of South East European (SEE) countries and Turkey.

After having discussed the lessons learnt and the challenges ahead, this third seminar focused on the future of the EU enlargement policy. A group of 19 young people from the SEE-countries was invited to take part in this Working Visit to Brussels. The group consisted of people who are member of Social Democratic (sister) parties in the Balkan region and Turkey. Goals of the working visit were to go into possible future scenarios in relation to the EU enlargement and to get the group acquainted with the EU institutions.

The group visited many experts and politicians who are active in this working field. During the discussion several issues came to the fore. All of the speakers believed that the bilateral problems that were caused by the 90’s-war should be solved before the countries can become part of the EU. However, many of them argued that the EU could have a more active role in overcoming nationalistic and ethnic problems in the Balkan. Turkey is a different case and therefore the roadmap to accession should be a different one as well, it was stated. The balance between what the future accession countries should do to stimulate EU membership and what the EU should do, was a much disputed one, which was related to the amount of pressure that should be put on the countries. It was brought in that pressure can also lower the enthusiasm of EU-membership like recently happened in Serbia.

The participants of the working visit brought up new suggestions and went back home with many new ideas. Integration between the different nationalities was already the case during this week. Four groups were made among the participant who each concentrated on different themes relating to Turkey, the Balkan and EU accession. They will use the themes as a starting point for recommendations for future policies to be put down in a discussion paper. All the discussions that will become an integral part of the book published at the end of the project in June 2012.