Western Europe must beware of what the Balkan's accession would mean for the rest of the Unionby Alan Riley / July 2, 2013 / Leave a comment
On 1st July Croatia became a member state of the European Union. The European Commission claims that Croatia has made substantial progress and is ready for membership.
It is to be hoped that this in fact is the case. The evidence of state dysfunction, from the lack of rule of law to widespread corruption from the other ex-Yugoslavian states is not promising. Britain and other EU governments supportive of widening of EU membership may find that Croatia’s accession marks the start of a flood of ill-prepared Balkan states entering the Union (Serbia and Montenegro are already seeking entry).
The unrecognised problem with the Balkans is that the scale of state dysfunction is such that on accession those individuals capable of reforming their states will understandably grab their free movement rights and leave the country. The EU could then be left perpetually nursing a group of dysfunctional, misbehaving states.
British governments have always been keen on EU enlargement. The noble reason is to bring the nations of Central and Eastern Europe and the Baltic States back “into Europe”: to return these states to a common liberal democratic European home after their terrible experiences under Communist occupation.
The less noble calculation is that by widening the Union, the EU would hopefully be able to do less and that at the very least Her Majesty’s Government would find friendly pro-Western, liberal market allies to the East.
Many of these new member…