Slovenia advocates Western Balkans enlargement

by Cristian Florescu

It is crucial to complete the EU’s enlargement to the Western Balkans and prepare the Union for further membership applications by interested European countries said the Slovenian state secretary on EU Affairs, Gašper Dovžan, write

Slovenia’s second presidency of the Council of the European Union is coming to an end. It has been taking place under substantially different circumstances than the first presidency in the first half of 2008; not only because of the changing role of the rotating Council Presidency brought about by the Treaty of Lisbon but mainly due to the changing political climate and geostrategic situation.

In parallel to all political developments, we have seen unprecedented technological advances over the last decade, as well as the emergence of the digital economy, online platforms and social networks, all of which have their epicentres outside Europe. The geopolitical environment has also changed.

Growing economic, technological, security-political and general strategic confidence of some of the biggest countries in Asia-Pacific has challenged the established global economic, financial and security architecture which, after the Second World War, was geared towards the protection of security and values of free Europe.

A rapid industrial rise of many developing countries has also exacerbated impacts on the environment, accelerating climate change and further intensifying the competition for key raw materials, especially energy resources that all economies inevitably need to grow.

There is also an aggravating demographic situation in the Union that weakens its overall economic potential in the mid and long term. In the light of these trends, it has become clear that the EU, which has traditionally relied on its soft economic power, will face an uphill battle to maintain its global impact and avoid slipping further into a position of increased external dependence.

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