Serbia’s relations with its Western Balkan neighbours as a challenge for its accession to the EU


  • Milenko Petrovic
  • Garth Wilson



Serbia’s accession, neighbourhood relations, problems, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro


Serbia, as the second regional frontrunner (after Montenegro) in the EU accession process, hopes to be able to meet the required conditions and join the EU by 2025 which the European Commission 2018 enlargement strategy declared as the earliest possible date for the admission of new EU members. However, some of the EU’s expectations and requirements which Serbia has to meet, particularly those regarding the ‘normalisation’ of its relations with Kosovo and the resolution of ‘bilateral disputes’ which it has with some other neighbours, seem to be very tough and challenging for the Serbian government. The article discusses the recent developments in Serbia’s relations with its ‘most problematic’ neighbours and critically assesses the strength of problems in these relations as an obstacle for Serbia’s accession to the EU. The article shows that thanks to EU assistance and the commitment of interested parties to find a common ground, Serbia’s relations with Kosovo may become even less of an obstacle to its accession than its relations with its three western neighbours, particularly Croatia.