The paper describes the essence and the recent developments of the EU enlargement focusing on explanations of how the enlargement process works and what its recent trends are, as well as identifying the key stumbling blocks that impede successful progress of candidate countries on the way to signing the accession treaty. Issues such as conflicts with neighboring EU member states and EU candidate countries, adherence of the EU to what some dub ‘stabilitocracy’ policy towards the Western Balkans region – that is, a preference of stability over democratic change —, and new geopolitical momentum for the EU enlargement policy that has been boosted again by war-inflicted Ukraine’s candidacy are examined in detail.


Dmytro Naumenko, Senior Analyst, Ukrainian Centre for European Policy
Oleksandra Bulana, Analyst, Ukrainian Centre for European Policy
Snizhana Diachenko, Junior Analyst, Ukrainian Centre for European Policy

Peer review:

Borja Lasheras, Non-resident Senior Fellow with the Transatlantic Defense and Security program at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA)
Adam Lazowski, University of Westminster

We would like to express our special acknowledgements to the following interviewed experts that invested their precious time and insights into outlining and improving of this policy paper:

Florian Bieber, Director at the Centre of Southeast European Studies of the University of Graz, Coordinator of the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG)
Toby Vogel, Policy researcher, Centre for European Policy Studies
Steven Blockmans, Director of Research, Centre for European Policy Studies
Viola von Cramon, EP MP, Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance
Srđan Cvijić, Senior Policy Analyst, Open Society European Policy Institute in Brussels


This study has been produced by the Ukrainian Centre for European Poliсy with the assistance of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Ukraine (Kyiv). The information and views set out in this study are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung e.V. All remaining mistakes in this study are the author’s sole responsibility. All parts of this publication are protected by copyright.