Europe’s Futures Fellow 2021/22


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© Davor Konjikušić
Institute for Democracy Societas Civilis Skopje - IDSCS
Internal and External Understanding of EU’s Strategic Autonomy: How to Adapt to the New Realities

In the period to 2030, one can expect a major shift in European policy: the emergence of a properly strategic EU. The objective of the study is to shed light on the different national understandings of strategic EU action. Emphasis is placed on four EU member states of crucial importance for the future development and accession path of the Western Balkan countries: France, Austria, Poland, and above all, Germany. Expectations of a strategic EU will vary between member states based on their individual national preferences and geographical location. To be perceived as an autonomous power player on the international scene, the EU also needs to be perceived as such by others – and that includes the Western Balkans. Therefore, Zoran Nechev maps different national understandings of the EU and EU actions in North Macedonia, Serbia and Albania in order to find out how they can best position themselves vis-à-vis the EU and EU member states’ understanding of the European capacity to act.

Zoran Nechev specializes in relations between the European Union and the Western Balkans, the external dimensions of justice and home affairs, corrosive capital, and foreign malign influences. He heads the Center for EU integration of the Institute for Democracy Societas Civilis, a North Macedonian think tank devoted to research and capacity-building in matters related to the EU, specifically the enlargement process. Nechev is an associate fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group. Previously, he was an academic guest at the Center for International and Comparative Studies, ETH Zürich, where he examined the effects of the EU’s conditionality policy. As a senior associate fellow at the EU Institute for Security Studies, he was involved in activities related to the EU’s Global Strategy, resilience, and the Balkan Futures project.