EU leaders are expected to repeat old promises to Western Balkan states at their upcoming summit on October 6th, but enlargement is going nowhere for now. Most stakeholders agree on the need to restore positive momentum to the European project, currently threatened by its damaged reputation and external threats, but few have credible plans how.
An idea is gaining ground that a system of accession to the EU in stages is now needed to revive and sustain the incentives for European integration perceived by the aspiring states of the Western Balkans. At the same time there is the need to ease the most serious concerns over enlargement of the existing EU member states. If, indeed, there can be a broad intuitive appeal for the idea of staged accession, then there follows the need for its operational specification.
A panel of leading think tankers will discuss the merits of a template of staged accession and talk through the details.