As EU’s woes continue, aspiring members in the Balkans struggle to find their place

December 9, 2011

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(AP/Esteban Felix)
Though several countries were clamoring to join the EU, the Euro’s crisis has turned these campaigns upside down.

Members of the Euro zone reached an agreement late last night that would tighten financial regulations and force fiscal discipline. The landmark shift in economic policy is the latest response to the European economic crisis.

As EU members attend to their financial mess, one aspect that’s getting little attention is what this all means for nations in the Western Balkans: Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Croatia and Kosovo. The prospect of EU accession for these countries has started the process of bringing the Balkans together again after long war.

But with the EU’s richer nations losing patience with current members such as Greece, Spain and Italy, the integration of the poorer Balkan countries seems less certain, despite the region's significant reforms.

Marco Prelec, the director of the International Crisis Group's Balkans Project, provides analysis.