How should recent developments in EU asylum policy be interpreted? What are the prospects for relations between the EU and the Western Balkans? And how does the war in Ukraine impact the future of European Security?
These and other questions were discussed in a roundtable discussion on ‘Challenges in Europe’s New Member States’, organised by the Institute of Federalism. The speakers included Dr Ana Bojinovic Fenko from the University of Ljubljana, Ms Inanna Göbel-Bösch from the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and Prof Sarah Progin-Theuerkauf from the University of Fribourg. The discussion was facilitated by Dr Edina Szöcsik, Senior Researcher at the IFF, and Dr Rekha Oleschak-Pillai, also Senior Researcher at the IFF, prepared the ground with some opening remarks.
After an input by Dr Ana Bojinovic Fenko on the international context in which the EU operates and how its capability to act externally has been challenged, the speakers discussed what status the Western Balkans should have in the EU and whether there is a realistic prospect of their accession. While the latest EU asylum compromise was criticized in terms of its content, it was acknowledged that reaching an agreement was in itself a step forward in EU migration policy. Finally, the impact of the war in Ukraine on the EU's willingness to accommodate candidate-status was assessed.