Is EU Integration still an option for Kosovo? Comparing accession negotiations, visa liberalization expectations and participating in the Enlargement framework

June 17, 2022

Photo by Guillaume Périgois on Unsplash

This paper takes a comprehensive dive into where the Republic of Kosovo stands regarding EU integration, at all levels. Firstly, we situate EU engagement vis-à-vis the Western Balkans in terms of the enlargement package, and give an illustrative look into where the four official Western Balkan candidates currently stand in terms of chapter negotiations and integration expectations, in contrast to Kosovo. Secondly, the paper explores the effects Russia’s invasion of Ukraine can have on the urgency or passiveness towards EU enlargement, and how it may shift the EU27’s relations with the broader Eastern neighborhood. On this note, we argue why integration is particularly important for Kosovo in light of the armed conflict outbreak. Thirdly, it presents a realistic analysis of expectations on visa-free regime for Kosovar citizens and, lastly, signals because it is crucial that Kosovo has equal participation in the Western Balkans framework, and offers the example of Bosnia as the other potential candidate for further comparison.

This Policy Analysis seeks situate Kosovo among the persistent EU fatigue wave the Member States are experiencing, the recent war outbreak in Eastern European territory, and what this could mean for hopeful partner countries seeking support and integration steps, from chapter negotiations to the more-elementary visa liberalization.

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