Democratic Backsliding in the Western Balkans: What Should the EU’s Role Be?
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel’s recent call for the EU to become more active and visible in the Western Balkans reflects a growing concern in Berlin and Brussels that the countries in our immediate neighborhood may get lost on their way toward accession. The developments of the last decade have indeed been worrying. Democratic standards and civil liberties have been backsliding or stagnating throughout the region. What instruments can the EU use to address these developments? Does it still have leverage over the region’s political elites? And how does Russia factor in?
Head of Commissioner Hahn’s Cabinet European Neighborhood Policy and
Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission
Dr. Christian Hellbach
Special Envoy for South-Eastern Europe, Turkey,
and the EFTA States, German Federal Foreign Office
Research Fellow, Analytica, Macedonia
Program Coordinator, Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence, Serbia
Program Officer, Alfred von Oppenheim Center
This Brussels Briefing is organized by the DGAP’s Alfred von Oppenheim Center for European Policy Studies and will be held in English.