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The European integration of the Western Balkans countries has stalled because of the unwillingness of EU countries to pursue further expansion, and the unwillingness of most WB leaders to undertake the significant and necessary reforms which are prerequisites for Accession.

These delays have eroded the EU’s credibility as a transformative power in the Western Balkans to a significant extent, and have allowed reactionary right-wing forces to thrive in the political landscapes of WB countries. If the EU is to regain its status as the undisputed role model for the political and economic development of the WB countries, it must change and adapt its policies toward them.

To that end, the HBS Offices in Belgrade, Sarajevo and Berlin have estalished a Strategy Group tasked with conceptualizing and presenting to EU decision-makers policy proposals aimed at revitalizing the EU Accession process of the WB countries in line with progressive, green, and gender-sensitive values. The Group consists of prominent Civil Society representatives from each of the WB countries, and is subdivided into working groups.

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Policy brief
For the past three decades, Western Balkan countries have been going through a dynamic period of consolidation of new states, economic transition and transformation of social values. This process of regional and internal consolidation is unfinished and the legacy of conflict is still powerful; yet the outlook of EU accession is the one positive project offering a perspective to societies and economies while settling the wounds of the past.

WHEN CONDITIONALITY BECOMES BLACKMAIL: EU Member States Should Not Write The History Of Candidate Countries

Policy Brief
Recent developments in Southeastern Europe are diminishing the image of the European Union and its perspective of the region. The long history of the dispute over the history of the region of Macedonia, the identity of ethnic Macedonians and the question of the Macedonian minority in Bulgaria is threatening the EU integration of North Macedonia, but also the entire Western Balkan 6.
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WB6 Strategy Group on BiH: The elasticity of the integration process

Thus far, BiH political leaders have not demonstrated substantial progress in fulfilling the integration’s requirements, nor in joint efforts of prioritizing EU integration and putting it before particular ethnic interests. In case of Mr. Čović and the Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ BiH), it is necessary to keep in mind the type of EU-BiH perspective they advocate for, as well what their policies imply for BiH.

Western Balkan 6 Strategy Group - for an effective EU-enlargement policy

The “Strategy Group for a political, societal and economic European integration of the Western Balkans Six” is a group of legal, historical and political researches from all WB6 countries organized by Heinrich Böll Stiftung’s Belgrade, Sarajevo and Berlin offices. Its aim is to credibly advocate for a more effective European integration of the Balkans in European as well as Balkan capitals.

Position Paper On WB6

policy brief
Recommendations and expectations for German and European policy. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has direct and significant implications for the Western Balkans. The lack of a consistent and convincing EU perspective and U.S. engagement in the region opened up space for other actors and scenarios aimed at recomposing the Western Balkans as well as promoted regressive tendencies throughout the region.

Position Paper on the Land Swap Proposal between Serbia and Kosovo

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This brief examines the pitfalls of border change as a possible solution to the Serbia-Kosovo problem, and addresses the question of integrity of the international community’s involvement into this discourse. It does so by confronting value-based and pragmatic-realpolitik arguments, essentially arguing that partitioning Kosovo is neither a guarantee for normalization, nor a step towards the EU for both Kosovo and Serbia.

A Map of the Dangers of a Land Swap Agreement, as in Le Monde (French)

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"Discussed this summer by the Kosovar and Serb presidents, as well as by a close friend of Donald Trump, the project to redraw the borders in the Western Balkans is presented as a solution of stability after twenty years of frozen conflicts. Ethnic mosaics, crucial infrastructure, cultural sites are all obstacles to the project of redefining the borders between Kosovo and Serbia."