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Balkans: ISPI analyst, further erosion of EU credibility

No candidate status to BiH and negotiations for Skopje, Tirana

24 June, 12:19
(by Stefano Giantin) (ANSA) - BELGRADE, JUN 24 - The failure to grant candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina and further delays in opening EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania represent "further erosion of the EU's credibility in the region, which will feel even more abandoned. But the worst consequences will be for the Union: the EU should not be surprised if other global players have filled the vacuum left by its broken promises in a few years." Giorgio Fruscione, political scientist and Balkans expert at the Institute for International Policy Studies (Ispi), took stock of the situation in the Balkans in an interview with ANSA.

"Geopolitical choices always have consequences; this was yet another assist to Russia," the analyst adds.

Fruscione gives a "negative" assessment of the EU's stance toward the Balkans. "For a long time, we have rightly criticized the lack of progress in reforms at the local level, but for at least three years, Brussels has been making a mockery of the candidates, first and foremost Albania and North Macedonia. As a result, these countries are now completely powerless. They cannot free themselves from the limbo they have fallen into because of the Bulgarian veto and the French president's enlargement reform proposals. It, therefore, seems realistic to say that "the EU has unjustly abandoned the Balkans. At the local level," Fruscione concludes, "the consequence will be an acceleration of the authoritarian drift, particularly in Serbia, and greater influence by third-party actors. For the EU, the inability to reform in a truly collegial sense will make it increasingly hostage to politically motivated vetoes of a single country. And we will likely see this in the coming years, even to the detriment of new candidates Moldova and Ukraine." (ANSA).

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