Negotiations for accession to the EU are notoriously technical but enlargement is a political process, noted Miroslav Lajčák, Slovakia’s Deputy Prime Minister at our 12th yearly European Policy Summit on the Balkans. As Serbia and Albania demonstrated recently, moving into the fast lane towards EU accession takes political will and determination.

“The obstacles to accession faced by the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are not insurmountable,” Miroslav Lajčák stressed. “If a political solution to the Kosovo issue is possible, then anything can be.”

Stefan Füle, EU Commissioner for Enlargement added that Europe is now facing tough economic and political situation. Within the EU, there are growing concerns about taking on new Member States – people focus on the negative aspects and overlook the benefits. At the same time, in the enlargement countries, there is a need to do more to deliver on reforms and meet the accession criteria. The European Commission will be measuring and rewarding real progress and not “tick box” reforms.

Friends of Europe and the European Office of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung have been addressing issues affecting the Balkans for over a decade, enabling senior policymakers from the region to share their concerns and ideas with EU and member state policymakers.

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