European Studies Senior Associate Nida Gelazis was recently quoted in the Italian on-line newspaper Affaritaliani assessing the benefits of European enlargement in the Western Balkans. In an article by Massimiliano Santalucia titled The Balkan countries break into Europe. Montenegro and Serbia in the EU Soon, Gelazis discussed the pros and cons of admitting the former Yugoslav countries to the EU.   

"… there is an active civil society in the Balkans that wants to use the EU and NATO accession processes as a way of persuading their governments to adopt democratic and market reforms that benefit the society.  Those groups support the EU and NATO strongly, as they see it as the only way to end the political impasse and create open and productive markets.” Gelazis said.  

According to Gelazis, "The accession of the countries of former Yugoslavia to the EU can have a positive impact in many aspects and bring mutual benefits for both the old member states and the new.”

"For those that are already within the Union, it would open up more opportunities for trade and investment in a number of new countries,” Gelazis pointed out. “The newcomers would be integrated into a legal system where there are new institutional bodies which have the possible to counter a possible resurgence of nationalism and resolve tensions between countries in a peaceful manner. "

The full text of the article can be accessed here: