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Will Europe End in Croatia?

MAYNOOTH, IRELAND – Despite its many woes, the European Union remains a lodestar for poorer states outside its borders. Indeed, the gravitational pull of the EU’s enlargement process has been the most important factor in the reconstitution of economic, political, and civic life in the western Balkans since the end of the post-Yugoslav wars of the 1990’s.

Croatia’s accession to the EU on July 1 provides a welcome boost to a region that has been placed on the back burner as a result of “enlargement fatigue” and the EU’s crisis-induced introspection. Enlargement advocates also point to the deal signed by Kosovo and Serbia in April as another key development in unlocking the Balkans’ European future.