The Impact of the EU Enlargement Policy on Rule of Law Reforms in the Western Balkans

The implementation of the new “fundamentals first” approach in the accession negotiations to Chapter 23-Judiciary and fundamental rights and Chapter 24-Justice, freedom and security, introduced by the European Commission in 2012, prioritizes reforms in the rule of law field, ensuring they are addressed as early as possible in the accession process. This allows the countries to build up a track record of concrete results ensuring the sustainability of reforms before accession. The terms “track record” and “conditionality” nowadays dominate the public political debate on enlargement in The Netherlands.

What are the lessons learned and results achieved so far? What is the state of play in this key area in the related countries?

The new style of reporting introduced last year in the EU Enlargement Strategy and Country Reports 2015 provides greater transparency and facilitates greater scrutiny of reforms by all stakeholders. Indeed, the reports show more clearly where the countries stand in terms of their preparations for meeting the membership criteria; provide more guidance on what they should focus on in the following year; and include more harmonized reporting and assessment scales, which allow countries to be directly compared in the key areas.

Has this new presentation applied inter alia in the area of rule of law achieved the stated objectives?

To discuss these issues, the Hague Institute for Global Justice and the European Commission Directorate-General for Neighborhood and Enlargements Negotiations (DG NEAR) are pleased to convene the following panel of experts:

  • Mr. Allan Jones, Head of Strategy, Policy, Planning Unit, DG NEAR, European Commission
  • Mr. Eeuwke Faber, Head for External EU policy, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • Mr. Gerald Knaus, Founding Chairman of the European Stability Initiative
  • ModeratorMr. Nikola Dimitrov, Distinguished Fellow at the Hague Institute for Global Justice

Please note: This event has reached capacity. We are no longer accepting RSVPs. We apologize for the inconvenience. If you would like to attend this event, please contact Marie-Laure Poiré at

Further Reading

Abandoned Church of St Nicolas at Mavrovo National Park

Past initiative: Primary Education in Macedonia

The Hague Institute for Global Justice, with the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Macedonia is leading a six-month research project that will…


Active: Distinguished Speaker Series

The Distinguished Speaker Series (DSS) showcases eminent practitioners in international affairs and is the centerpiece of the Institute’s high-level engagement with practitioners and academics in the city…


Rule of Law

The Rule of Law Program fosters accountability and trust in societies in transition by supporting effective formal and informal justice institutions. The overarching goal…