Main Article Content
This paper examined whether the revised enlargement methodology represented another step in the direction of gradual EU membership of the Western Balkans. The research problem was based on considerations that the EU enlargement domain has for years been characterized by political stagnation. The research aimed to show that a differentiated accession approach might have been beneficial for Serbia, as a front-runner membership candidate. In terms of methods, the author analyzes the concepts and the applicability of the ‘three-tiered accession’ and ‘staged accession’, having in mind the recently altered enlargement methodology. The author argues that the gradual integration would have been beneficial for two reasons: 1) validating the candidates’ already achieved progress, offering tangible incentives, and potentially preventing the democratic backsliding; 2) taking the pre-scheduled accession dates off the table. Considering that the EU is unlikely to expand further, the author concludes that the gradual membership concept might apply solely to the WB, while also reassuring the Member States regarding the primacy of individual merits and excluding the speedy accessions proposals.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.