Social Dimension of EU Enlargement

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.

 

 

Publications

The social dimension of enlargement policy: Social rights as a priority of enlargement

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


Social Rights are Fundamental: Expanding the Social Dimension of Enlargement

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

 

 


Enlargement Policy and Social Change in the Western Balkans

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

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The EU-summit on May 6, 2020, will confirm the good news for the Western Balkans: the European Commission will start accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania. The bad news is: if talks and negotiations follow “the business as usual” path we cannot expect a lot to change. The European project so far did not deliver social change in Western Balkans countries.

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MoU on the Social Dimension Initiative signed in Belgrade

On the 15th of January, 2020, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe signed a Cooperation Agreement with the European Fund for the Balkans and Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund in Belgrade. The partners stated they were looking forward to continuing and deepening their collaboration on social policy development and raising awareness in that field.

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The Social Dimension of Enlargement Policy: Vienna

On 13th of December, Karl Renner Institute in Vienna hosted a round table titled “European Integration – An update on the Western Balkans”. The event gathered representatives from the Party of European Socialists, European Union, experts and organizations working in the region.

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Social Dimension of EU Enlargement in WB: Brussels

On the 20th of November, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Dialogue Southeast Europe together with FES Brussels, in cooperation with the Initiative for Development and Cooperation and Center for Social Studies, organized an expert discussion on the topic of Enlargement Policy and Social Change in the Western Balkans.

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Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung
Dialogue Southeast Europe

Kupreška 20, 71000 Sarajevo
Bosnia and Herzegovina

+387 33 711 540
+387 33 711 541

info(at)fes-soe.org

Social Dimension Initiative

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