Contemporary Southeastern Europe
Introduction: Overcoming the Crisis of EU Enlargement
The goal of this volume is to explore the EU-integration process in the Western Balkans region during a period of enlargement-abstinence. Articles in this special issue aim to expand knowledge and scholarship in this area, but also to influence policy-led discussions in order to reinvigorate the EU integration process. So, instead of viewing enlargement as the fulfillment of formal criteria, this volume will focus on how and if the enlargement process can overcome the “enlargement fatigue” and skepticism towards the EU membership of the Western Balkans whilst having a transformative effect. This introduction provides a brief overview of the processes of European integration as well as the current challenges that the region faces, including political and socio-economic transformation in the (potential) EU candidate countries, coupled with external leveraging on the part of the EU, which has been beset by a combination of enlargement fatigue and internal debate on the future of the Eurozone, in the midst of the global economic crisis.