Event Report: Western Balkans between Internal Transitions and the European Integration Process

May 10, 2017

The CEU Center for European Neighborhood Studies (CENS) and the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) office in Budapest hosted an international conference on April 24, 2017 entitled “Western Balkans between Internal Transitions and the European Integration Process”. The conference addressed transition processes in the Western Balkans, examined the role of the EU and the urgency for a closer monitoring of the situation in the region.

The Western Balkans is a region where legacies of the past interfere with the present and negatively contribute to the transitional processes of these countries. The region is officially committed to following the EU and NATO path, although it faces many challenges when it comes to meeting the criteria for both memberships. The difficult democratic transition, the lack of political will, and weak political culture delay the process of bringing the region closer to Euro-Atlantic integration. Meanwhile, the recent years in the Western Balkans have been labeled by a deteriorating situation across the region. All the countries face a new crisis of democracy and democratic values (fragile institutions, violation of human rights, freedom of media, fragile civil society). The democratic transition has not delivered on its promises. Such a crisis changes the political landscape of the region resulting in the adaptation of political elites, and seeks for new tools to retain power, and secure the legitimacy in the eyes of the citizens.

Please find a detailed event report here.