New Challenges of the Western Balkan Countries and Turkey on the Way to European Union

  • Abstract:
    This year is the tenth anniversary of the Thessaloniki Summit when the famous ‘Western Balkan Agenda’ was adopted as a clear signal to Western Balkan countries that they have a European perspective. The top officials of the integration were stating that European Union shall not be completed until Western Balkan countries join it. Ten years later, Croatia achieving the requirements for EU admission, became its equal 28th member. Other Western Balkan countries and Turkey are still trying hard both politically and economically to become part of the big ‘European family’. However, events on the European economic stage, first of all the world economic crisis and the Euro- zone crisis, have recently influenced the stagnation of Euro – optimism in the Western Balkan countries and Turkey resulting in reconsiderations of achievements and further ambitions with regard to joining the EU. According to economic parameters, these countries are far from the European Union standards. Politically, each in its own way, tends to membership and perceives its perspective in integration. From a sociological perspective, citizens express less optimism regarding the European Union membership, and the number of those who support joining is in constant decrease. Will the idea of a European perspective for Western Balkan countries and Turkey be achieved in the recent future or will these countries be left to themselves to remain on the margins of Europe? Is it possible to achieve healthy economic growth, stability and living standard suitable to citizens out of European Union? The future will bring answers to these questions. For the time being, I will try to anticipate some scenarios for the future based on economic analysis.