Expanding European Integration towards the Western Balkans in Times of Crises: A Neo-Functionalist Examination
This article examines the political practices of the European Union (EU) in the Western Balkans and, in particular, the EU-Kosovo relations by adopting the revisited neo-functionalism approach to the study of EU enlargement. This research draws on the descriptive and explanatory assumptions of the approach; it not only explains the development of the EU enlargement perspective towards the region but also explores the main dynamics behind the EU’s strategy towards the region, beginning from the outbreak of the Yugoslavia War and the reflections associated with the development of the EU foreign policy realm. More specifically, the research focuses on the dynamics underlying the process of the development of Stabilization and Association Agreement with Kosovo. In the conclusion, future research directions and limitations of the revisited neo-functionalism are discussed.
Keywords: neo-functionalism, EU enlargement, EU foreign policy, EU – the Western Balkans relations, EU – Kosovo relations