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3 October 2019

SEER: Are the western Balkans ready for EU accession?

SEER cover

This year’s first issue of the SEER Journal for Labour and Social Afffairs in Eastern Europe considers the readiness of western Balkan countries for EU accession. The EU has committed to supporting the gradual integration of the western Balkan countries into the Union.

On 1 July 2013, Croatia became the first of the seven countries to join. Montenegro, Serbia, the Republic of North Macedonia and Albania are all official candidates, and accession negotiations have been opened with Montenegro and Serbia. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are potential candidate countries. The question which Mirela Veleva-Eftimova tries to answer in the key article of this edition is whether the same accession process as that which culminated in 2004 should be repeated for this region. After reconstructing the process of the earlier enlargement towards the east, she argues that this accelerated process had an indirect effect on the quality of the (as yet incomplete) integration of the 2004 accession countries.

This issue of SEER also tackles such subjects as the quality of social dialogue, the state of occupational health and safety, and the economic development in the region. One article looks at a key issue in post-conflict regions which is the settling of controversial heritage cases, such as property rights and geopolitical disputes. And the last two articles examine two very different topics: the criminal offence of the trafficking of human organs in former Yugoslavia, and the gender pay gap in North Macedonia.

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