The FES published “Enlargement Policy and Social Change” study, which proposes changing perspective for a moment and looking at enlargement policy from a different angle. Has the European project in the Western Balkans delivered social change? Mass emigration and declining population rates, democratic backsliding, growing economic and social inequalities as well as social exclusion suggest otherwise. This study reveals that the governments’ economic and social reforms, with the EU’s assistance, have not been able to remedy poor social outcomes, and that paradigmatic shift is needed.
The citizens of the region perceive that their interests and social rights have so far not been at the heart of the EU’s transition efforts. To regain legitimacy, ordinary people in the Western Balkans must feel that European integration works in their favour. It is, therefore, high time to increase efforts towards inclusive growth, social citizenship, and equal opportunity through social and economic reform in the Western Balkans.
The Social Dimension of Enlargement Policy lays out the key findings from the study Enlargement Policy and Social Change in the Western Balkans , focusing on the interaction between EU institutions and WB governments in processes of strategic social reform, mechanisms deployed by the EU in the social policy realm in the region and reforms pursued by WB governments to improve the social outcomes. Recommendations are offered on how to deepen the social dimension of accession. Download publication
The countries of the Western Balkans (WB) are facing enormous social challenges, including poverty and inequality, widespread joblessness and precarious employment, as well as a poor quality of crucial services. EU integration should not only be about institutional and economic transformation, but also social convergence. To effect social change, further paradigmatic shift is needed in enlargement policy: people need to be placed at the heart of the process. This document provides recommendations on how to achieve such a shift. Download publication
Has the European project in the Western Balkans delivered social change? Mass emigration and declining population rates, democratic backsliding, growing economic and social inequalities as well as social exclusion suggest otherwise. Correspondingly, the citizens of the region perceive that their interests and social rights have so far not been at the heart of the EU’s transition efforts. Download publication
»Social Dimension Initiative« aims to raise awareness for advancing social policy within the accession process of Western Balkan countries to the European Union.
Download the PDF file containing visual representation of some of the key messages and findings on the Social Dimension of EU Enlargement. (Infographics)