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At the December 2013 European Council Meeting, EU heads of government pledged to pursue the enlargement of the EU and the eurozone.
The list of candidates is quite long. The next challenge for the EU is the accession of Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, Albania, Macedonia and Kosovo – six small, mostly multinational countries of the Western Balkans, with a total population of about 20 million.
None of these is presently ready for membership.
They are among the poorest countries in Europe. Their membership will therefore widen the income gap within the EU with the problems that this entails for the budget and migrant flows. But these problems are relatively easy to overcome, considering the small numbers involved.
It is their poor governance records that constitute the biggest hurdle. None of the six countries has a confirmed experience with democracy and the rule of law. All of them have been marked by one-party governance and corruption […]

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EurActiv Network