In EU member states, businesses are skeptical of moving production to the EU neighborhood, and governments are scratching their heads as to how to ensure stability and friendly investor relations there. Yes, the EU has developed liberal trade relations with the countries of the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe as preparation for their eventual accession to the bloc. Yet this liberalization is evidently not enough of a carrot to incentivize big reforms or foreign policy alignment that would mark them out as “friends” of the EU. If the EU cannot practice “friendshoring” in countries that are close neighbors and where its leaders want to engage, where can it?
A Half Step Plan