In October 2019, six countries of the Western Balkans were shocked to learn that French President Emmanuel Macron had vetoed the start of negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia on accession to the European Union (EU). Even before that, both Western Balkan societies and their ruling elites were under no illusion that EU membership was within reach. Increasingly, concerns are growing that this disillusionment with the European path may push the Balkan states into foreign policy adventurism and encourage them to compensate for setbacks in EU talks with poorly conceived deals with other world powers — like China, Russia, or Turkey. Serbia, the largest country in the region, is viewed as especially susceptible to such risks due to its deep and established ties with Russia.
ISP Working Paper | Maxim SAMORUKOV | Serbia, Quo Vadis? Belgrade between EU Accession and Aligment with Russia