Ratification of the Lisbon Treaty has cleared the way for further EU enlargement, but bilateral disputes in the Balkans region first have to be settled. While Kosovo’s independence has gone better than many feared, it remains an intractable problem that the EU will have to tackle: the question is whether the EU is ready for the responsibility.
The Balkans has been badly affected by the economic recession. The full social impact has yet to be felt, with worrying implications for political stability. If the model of economic transition based on high inflows of foreign capital is now no longer available, the EU will have to develop a new plan and find additional resources for restarting sustainable growth in the region.