Garčević Explores Prospect of Balkan Countries Joining the EU

On November 19, 2021, Ambassador Vesko Garčević, Professor of the Practice of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, participated in an event co-hosted by the Royal Institute Elcano of Madrid and the Slovenian Presidency of the European Union/The Bled Strategic Forum – “The European Union’s next enlargement: prospects and pitfalls” – on the prospect of the Balkan countries joining the European Union (EU).

Garčević’s session, titled “the EU’s daunting enlargement dilemmas,” featured Florian Bieber, Coordinator, Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group; Ivan Vejvoda, Acting Rector, Institute for Human Sciences; Peter Grk, Secretary-General of Bled Strategic Forum; as well as Ruth Ferrero, Professor at  Universidad Complutense de Madrid. Panelists noted that there is a clear correlation between reform fatigue in the Balkans and EU enlargement fatigue. These two ends of the enlargement equation are intertwined: when the EU was actively involved in the region during the first decade of the enlargement process, the reforms were gaining ground. Currently, the EU’s appetite for enlargement has waned, which allows for illiberal tendencies to flourish in the Western Balkans as there is nothing to stop a strong driving force behind them – unconstrained nationalism and populism.

A recording of the event can be viewed below. The roundtable’s full speaker lineup can be viewed on the Royal Institute Elcano from Madrid’s website.

During his diplomatic career, Ambassador Vesko Garčević dealt with issues pertinent to European security and NATO for almost 14 years. In 2004, he was posted in Vienna to serve as Ambassador to Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He had been a Montenegro’s Ambassador to NATO from 2010 until 2014 and served as Montenegro’s National Coordinator for NATO from 2015 until he joined the faculty at the Pardee School. Learn more about Ambassador Garčević on his faculty profile.