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Western Balkans

The countries of the Western Balkans are geographically surrounded by EU member states, and the EU’s general approach towards the region is characterised by stabilisation through integration.

The conflicts which blighted the region in the 1990s posed an existential challenge to the Common Security and Foreign Policy (CFSP) and in 2003, the EU went beyond its declaratory statements and launched the first ever Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission, EUPM, in Bosnia and Herzegovina and subsequently, the first military operation, Concordia, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Currently, the military operation EUFOR Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Union’s largest mission to date, EULEX, in Kosovo, provide tangible illustrations of the EU’s continued commitment to ensuring peace and stability in the region. Furthermore, the objectives of the Union and the work of the High Representative are also supported by the European Union Special Representatives (EUSRs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.

On 1 July 2013, Croatia became the 28th member state of the European Union. In 2012, Montenegro opened the accession negotiations, followed by Serbia in 2013. The prospect of EU membership remains open to the official candidate countries (Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia), as well as to the potential candidates: Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.




  • 27 February 2018

    From 27 February to 2 March 2018, the EUISS held the second round of workshops for the project ‘Balkan Futures’. The project is implemented by the EUISS and supported by the European Fund for the Balkans (EFB).

  • 22 January 2018

    On 22 January 2018 in Sarajevo, the EUISS launched its newest project – Balkan Futures. The project is implemented by the EUISS and supported by the European Fund for the Balkans (EFB).

  • 16 February 2017

    This expert workshop sought to identify and analyse the various drivers of fragility in and for the Western Balkans and the kind of responses that may be needed from the EU and/or local actors.

  • 30 May 2016

    On the 30-31 of May 2016, more than 80 researchers and policy analysts from think tanks and academia met in Paris at the Austrian Embassy and the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI).

  • 04 December 2015

    In cooperation with the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs of Austria and the European Stability Initiative, and with the support of the European Fund for the Balkans, the EU Institute for Security Studies organised an event at the Austrian Foreign Ministry in Vienna on 4th December 2015.

  • 12 December 2014

    On 12 December 2014, the EUISS hosted a screening of the fly-on-the-wall documentary film The Agreement.

  • 09 July 2013

    On Tuesday, 9 July 2013 in Brussels, the EUISS organised, in close cooperation with the European Policy Centre (EPC), a conference to discuss how far the Western Balkans have come in their European ambitions since the Thessaloniki Declaration of 2003. The debate was animated by many high-ranking experts from the EU and the region and the conclusions were made by the first Permanent Representative of Croatia to the EU.

  • 08 June 2012

    This seminar, jointly organised by the EU Police Mission (EUPM) and the EUISS and held in Sarajevo on the 7-8 June, marked 10 years of EU civilian crisis management in the Western Balkans and examined the impact of the EUPM in Bosnia and Herzegovina and lessons learned for the future of CFSP/CSDP.

  • 06 June 2011

    Each of the countries in the Balkans is on a different course to eventual accession to the European Union. But where will they be in 20 years' time? This seminar, co-organised with the Foreign Policy Initative BH, set out to explore this very question.

  • 10 November 2010

    The third annual EU-Washington Forum, held on 8-9 November 2010 in Washington DC, addressed the challenge of strengthening the EU-US relationship post Lisbon and explored options for reinvigorating the common agenda.