New Challenges of the European Foreign Policy in the Context of the Western Balkan Region

  • Abstract:

    Obviously the EU Foreign Policy is confronting with three main challenges and a few dilemmas in its approaches to the Western Balkans. The first main challenge is known as the ‘EU enlargement fatigue’ versus ‘Balkans accession fatigue’. The second EU challenge is how to deepen and widen its external coherence in reality. The Lisbon Treaty indeed made some efforts in order to enhance efficiency and effectiveness of single institutions, especially by the establishment of the newly position of the High Representative and the EEAS in the Common Foreign policy of the Union. But, on the other side, the Treaty provisions for the institutional architecture remain quite vague and leave substantial room for interpretation of the so-called “living architecture”. This is especially visible in the undertaken Western Balkans Union’s actions with confused responsibilities within the Union produced through unclear divisions of power not only between the High Representative and the “full-time” President of the European Council, but also between the EEAS and the European Commission. It is general accepted that the Western Balkans is one particular region where the EU is lacking of a coordinated and coherent strategy. This is the third EU main challenge. The EU policy towards the Balkans is very much divided between the foreign policy component (managed by the EEAS), and the enlargement component (controlled by the Commission). This is also reflected at the delegation’s level, where EEAS officials report to the Head of Delegation (HoD), while enlargement officials report directly to Commission headquarters in Brussels. This different position of the Western Balkans countries, on the one hand, and of the EU institutions, on the other, is actually a new challenge not only for the EU, but also for the countries in the region.