More Social Convergence in EU Enlargement Policy

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.

On the 5th of May, a day before the Western Balkans Summit, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Croatia organized an online event titled “How can Social Change be strengthened in EU Enlargement policy in the Western Balkans?” The aim was to accentuate the fact that EU integration should not only be about institutional and economic transformation, but also social convergence.

The main findings of the FES Dialogue SOE study "Social Change and Enlargement Policy" were presented by the author Mirna Jusić. Besides the presentation, the webinar featured a discussion on the topic of social change featuring Tanja Fajon, member of EU parliament, Gordana Matković from Center for Social Politics and Kalinka Graber, State secretary for EU integration in North Macedonia.

“We are going now through very severe health crises and we do not know how we will get out of it. What is certain, is that all the countries from the Western Balkans got, I would say, the solid financial package also for social-economic reforms, but as long as there are no stable conditions, the stable political environment is difficult to achieve concrete progress. I think we have to go hand in hand with social pillar fighting for social rights to abolish inequalities but hand in hand with establishing conditions that we fight against corruption that the money is properly spent, that we create the environment for healthy even foreign investment that we are opening possibilities of jobs for the young people to stay in the region.” (Tanja Fajon)

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