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Western Balkan six on their path to EU membership?

04 May 2018

For the first time, the UK will host the annual Western Balkans Summit on 9-10 July 2018.

Part of the Berlin Process, the intention of these summits is to support Albania, Bosnia Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia – also known as the Western Balkan six - on their path to membership of the EU.

EU membership not clear for Western Balkans six

The UK Government has made it clear that it sees EU membership for the group as essential for its vision of a secure and stable region and that Brexit will not change the UK’s support for the process.

However, five years after the Berlin process began, the path to EU membership is far from the clear for the Western Balkans six, leaving other international actors to take advantage of this uncertainty.

Committee investigates summit

Today, the Foreign Affairs Committee launches an inquiry on the Summit. The work will investigate whether the process of EU accession is proving an effective driver for reform of the Western Balkan six; what the UK is doing to help and how Brexit might impact on this; and in what ways this is complicated by the involvement of other international actors.

Chair's comments

Chair of the Committee, Tom Tugendhat MP, said:

"The Western Balkans have long played a part in British history risking the peace of Europe.

"As part of the Committee’s work on our inquiry into Global Britain, we know that the Government has said that the decision to leave the European Union doesn’t mean the UK bowing out of world affairs. The Prime Minister has said that the July summit will have a ‘bold agenda’ and that the UK shares the vision of the Western Balkans six of a ‘peaceful, prosperous and democratic region’ … ‘anchored to European values and systems and contributing to European security.’

"What we don’t know is how the UK can support the Western Balkan path to EU membership when our own landscape is changing. This inquiry will consider what the Berlin Process has achieved so far and what can be achieved at the London Summit, and beyond."

Send a written submission

The Committee would welcome written submissions that address the following issues:

  • What has the Berlin Process achieved so far and what can be achieved at the London Summit?
  • What can the UK do in the long-term to support the Western Balkan path to EU membership and what impact does Brexit have on its ability to influence the process?
  • What tools do other international actors use to exercise influence in the region and what should the UK do to counter or support this? 
  • What fora and mechanisms can the UK use after Brexit to ensure a collective European commitment to the stability and security of the Western Balkans?
  • What role can Parliament play in strengthening parliamentary democracy in the Western Balkans?

Send a written submission to the Western Balkans Summit inquiry.

The deadline for submissions is Friday 18 May 2018. 

Further information

Image: iStockphoto

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