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.
»Social Dimension Initiative« aims to raise awareness for advancing social policy within the accession process of Western Balkan countries to the European Union.