Sofia Summit: Straight ahead through an old road

July 30, 2018


Francisco Garcia
governance, European integration issues, human rights

The much anticipated Sofia Summit that took place in the Bulgarian capital on May 17 was expected to mark the grand relaunching of the Enlargement process for the Western Balkans. It did not. In fact, for many regional analysts and politicians, the Summit proved to be a disappointment, as their expectations failed to materialize. This high level meeting brought together the heads of state and of government of the Member States, as well as those of the Western Balkan partners, as they were labelled. The Bulgarian presidency of the Council intended to stage the comeback of the European Union to the Western Balkans after the half decade of stagnation that has followed Croatia’s accession to the EU in 2013. Thus, it would build on the momentum created by the new Communication of the European Commission on the enlargement perspective for the region. In that sense, the symbolism of the Summit is undisputable. Fifteen years after the landmark Thessaloniki Summit, European and leaders again gathered with those of the so-called WB6 (the six States that compose the Western Balkans and are not yet part of the EU) to push forward cooperation and, eventually, integration. That first conference established that “[t]he future of the Balkans is within the European Union”. Yet, as of the beginning of 2018, that future still seemed out of reach for most people in the Balkans. This Policy Note offers an analysis of the impact and outcomes of the Sofia Summit held this May in Bulgaria.

Policy Notes

Sofia Summit: Straight ahead through an old road

Download PDF 30/07/2018

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