Special Issue: Serbia on its way to EU membership – the remaining challenges and obstacles
Fifteen years after the European Union (EU) promised all the Western Balkan states an EU future by adopting the Thessaloniki agenda in 2003,1 Croatia is the only Western Balkan state to have succeeded in joining. Although Croatia’s journey to EU accession was not quick and smooth (especially when compared with that of its ex- communist counterparts from East Central Europe and the Baltics who joined in 2004 and 2007), Serbia and other Western Balkan neighbours of Croatia have had an even harder and (much) bumpier road to the EU. Western Balkan accession had been effectively stalled for several years due to the emergence of enlargement fatigue in the mid-2000s. It was briefly re-activated with Croatia’s accession and the launch of the so-called Berlin Process in 2014 (Juncos and Whitman, 2015; Petrovic and Wilson 2018; and Mtchedlishvili, 2018 in this Special Issue). However, the accession process stalled again in 2016 and early 2017 with the shock of Brexit and the migration crisis. As of 2018, Western Balkan accession has returned to a prominent place on the EU enlargement agenda.