In new TEPSA Book Series sixth edition “Enlargement and the Future of Europe - Views from the Capitals” that will be published in 2023, Danijela Jacimovic and Zorica Kalezic are authors of the Montenegrin chapter "The Scramble for re-Enlargement: Montenegro".
Anecdotal evidence suggests that the policy of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans has not produced significant results in bringing the region closer to the EU and its core values. The strict and dry insistence on credible criteria and "fundamentals first" has distanced the region from the EU, where the significant European demands placed on a poor region, that has experienced all the troubles of state disintegration, civil war, sanctions, and isolation, have been too difficult and almost unachievable. Such a policy has developed a feeling of mistrust in the region towards the intentions of the EU, which has been exploited by both domestic politicians and contemporary geopolitical competitors such as China, Russia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has contributed to the reevaluation of the re-enlargement process in the EU, highlighting the importance of the process and its contribution to the peace and stability of the European continent. It appears that the existing enlargement toolbox is not efficient any more.
You can read the full chapter HERE.