Without a doubt, the European Union is unprecedented as a peace project and otherwise. However, it has not ended the war in Europe. The Yugoslav Wars in the 90s, the violent conflict between Ukraine and Russia for instance, were not prevented by the existence of the European Union. What „any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible“ as it says in the Schuman Declaration 1950 has made war neither unthinkable nor materially impossible in the whole of Europe.
Watch this short talk between Ivan Vejvoda and me to get an idea of what I am working on:
Many people agree that the European Union’s enlargement process is flawed. As a consequence, none of the aspiring EU members meets their targets on the path to membership on time and some do not meet them at all. Simultaneously, a number of unwanted side effects occur, such as growing anti-EU sentiment or re-orientation of some states towards other global powers. While in one way or another this is true for all aspiring members, the EU’s disappointment with this situation seems to be particularly big in the case of the Western Balkans. The European Union’s stake in this region seems to be either higher or sometimes more personal than with e.g. Ukraine or Turkey. At least this is the impression you get when you listen to European leaders talking on the subject. One explanation would be that the cultural and historic experience with the Western Balkans ties us to them more strongly than to other countries. This is often framed in a nostalgic way that talks about the Habsburg Empire or the diplomatic relationships of Tito’s Yugoslavia with European states.