China’s Influence on the Western Balkans’ EU Accession Process: Synergies and Obstacles

This study examines the influence of China’s presence and activities on the European Union (EU) integration process of the Western Balkans. Since the Thessaloniki Summit of 2003, only Croatia managed to join the EU, while the other countries in the region remain candidates for membership, with little prospects to join by 2030. The research investigates how China’s approach impacts specific outcomes, both supporting and undermining the EU accession process, chapter by chapter. It also explores the reasons behind these outcomes, including China’s approach, domestic agency, and geopolitical factors. The goal is to provide a comprehensive and cross-country analysis of China’s impact in the region and identify areas where the Western Balkan countries can eliminate or minimise negative consequences, or leverage potential synergies, ultimately aiming to understand the interplay between China’s involvement and the EU integration process in the Western Balkans.

The presentation of the research findings took place on October 18 in Skopje, at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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