The introduction to the document (Austrian non-paper) written in May 2022, states that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine has changed geopolitical circumstances, jeopardized the European Union’s (EU) “Eastern Neighborhood” policy, and could have negative consequences for the stability of the Western Balkans.
“We want and need the countries of this region on our side. They are a key partner and an integral part of our European family. For this reason, we need to rethink our approach to the enlargement process and our neighborly policy,” it was said in the paper.
Namely, the Austrian non–paper says that the enlargement of the EU must be used as a geostrategic instrument, and not just a bureaucratic procedure. They emphasize that the current enlargement procedure has not yielded significant results.
They emphasize that they must look beyond the current tools for enlargement and unlock the untapped potential through the gradual integration of these countries.
“On the road to full membership, we need to create opportunities for the gradual integration of these countries in areas of particular benefit to them,” they said in Austria.
They, therefore, propose the following measures: progressive integration into the single market through, for example, the free transport of goods, the reduction and abolition of customs duties, which would include agricultural products, and the free movement of workers.
Part of the gradual approach to this plan would be inclusion in future-oriented trade and tax policy, participation in EU climate and energy policies, inclusion in the trans-European transport network, full involvement in EU programs in the fields of science, education and research, participation in joint EU foreign and security policy, and increased involvement in EU common security and defense policy missions, participation in the European Food Crisis Program and Response Mechanism, and participation in EU agencies.
The Think-tank European Stability Initiative (ESI) with offices in Brussels, Berlin, and Istanbul proposed that Ukraine, but also Moldova, and interested Western Balkan countries be offeredmembership status if they establish institutions and implement the policies needed for single market membership in the European Economic Area which is present in Norway and Iceland, Klix.ba writes.