This proposal was submitted by the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) to the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung in Athens as part of both organizations’ efforts to promote the Western Balkan countries’ accession to the EU.
With the start of the current crisis the accession problems were elevated to a higher level. The wealthier EU states seem to be increasingly skeptical even towards their less fortunate EU partners, let alone the problematic states outside the EU. The EU states that are in the midst of the crisis have enough problems of their own and do not seem to prioritise enlargement; this includes Greece which had, in the past, been among the most fervent supporters of Balkan enlargements and soon after this project was concluded, held the EU presidency.
The proposed project has two components. The first and wider component will focus on the current status and problems of the EU accession process in the Western Balkans and will attempt to investigate these issues and provide policy recommendations in the light of the Greek EU presidency, which at the time was forthcoming. The second component will focus on the case in one Western Balkan state, namely Albania. In the context of Albania’s EU accession process the project will comprehensively investigate the current status and challenges of Greek-Albanian relations. The second component of the project will be co-implemented with Tirana’s Albanian Institute for International Studies (AIIS), which provided matching funds locally for all the necessary research and activities that will be carried out in Albania.