ABSTRACT

In the aftermath of the European Union’s enlargement with the countries of Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) in 2004 and 2007, the debate over the future of the Western Balkans in the new European architecture has acquired a new vitality. Despite its turbulent past, the region has long been recognized by the European Union (EU) as a pool of potential new member states; a commitment enshrined in the Thessaloniki Agenda and re-iterated at the 2003 EU-Western Balkans Summit, where the EU urged its ‘unequivocal support to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries’ (EU-Western Balkans Summit 2003). Yet the EU’s commitment to a new round of southeast European enlargement has recently been thrown into question amidst fears of both an ‘enlargement fatigue’ in the EU and the slow pace of economic recovery and democratic consolidation in most Western Balkans, including Kosovo (see Phinnemore, this volume).