WCED Lecture. “EU Leverage and National Interests in the Balkans: The Puzzles of Enlargement Ten Years On.”
The enlargement of the European Union (EU) continues in the Western Balkans in the 2010s because the underlying dynamics remain largely the same. EU member states still see enlargement as a matter of national interest bringing economic and geopolitical benefits over the long term. The risk of instability in the Western Balkans has made the dividends from the EU’s “democratizing effect” especially substantial. The enlargement process continues to have a ‘democratizing effect’ as Western Balkans candidates and proto-candidates respond to the incentives of EU membership: political parties have changed their agendas to make them EU-compatible, and governments have implemented policy changes to move forward in the pre-accession process. Yet the EU is taking on candidates with difficult initial conditions: the article assesses the changes that the EU has made in order to exercise its leverage more effectively in the Western Balkans, and whether these have helped overcome problems with expertise, consistency and legitimacy in the EU’s pre-accession process.
Milada Anna Vachudova specializes in the democratization of postcommunist Europe, the enlargement of the European Union, and the impact of international actors on domestic politics. She is an Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her book, Europe Undivided: Democracy, Leverage and Integration after Communism, was published by Oxford University Press in 2005. Professor Vachudova is now working on her second book project comparing the experience of democratization and international engagement in the Western Balkans since 1995. Professor Vachudova has held fellowships and research grants from a number of organizations in the United States and Europe. She received a BA from Stanford University in 1991. As a British Marshall Scholar and a member of St. Antony’s College, she completed a D.Phil. in the Faculty of Politics at the University of Oxford in 1997.
Sponsors: WCED, CES, CREES
Milada Vachudova, associate professor of political science, University of North Carolina