Facing up to COVID-19 in the Balkans: Where is the EU? – Online
The challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic are many. Apart from its multidimensional impact on health, the economy, and citizens’ daily lives, the crisis has, once again, brought the EU’s credibility into question, both at home and abroad. While it struggles to agree on a coordinated response among its member states, the Union’s perceived lack of solidarity towards non-EU countries has not gone unnoticed in its immediate neighbourhood – the Western Balkans. The vacuum left by the EU has been quickly filled by other geopolitical powers: Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has welcomed China’s humanitarian engagement while openly declaring that his country cannot rely on EU support.
Meanwhile, the crisis has caused elections to be postponed across the region, toppled the government in Prishtina, and put huge pressure on countries whose economies are already struggling. How have the countries of the Western Balkans responded to the situation, and where do they require more support? How can the EU prove itself in these challenging circumstances, and can it counteract the soft power of China and Russia? What will happen in those countries where the electoral cycle has been disrupted, and what will be the medium- and long-term impact of the crisis for the region?
Our speakers will discuss these and other issues. The Dialogue will be moderated by Corina Stratulat, EPC Senior Policy Analyst.