Pomirenje | WeBalkans | EU Projects in the Western Balkans


Reconciliation and good neighbourly relations are at the heart of the European Union project and thus of the EU enlargement and stabilisation and association process.

The EU agenda in the Western Balkans is focused on building a better shared future, while tackling elements of the past which act as an impediment to future co-operation, stability and prosperity.

What are the challenges?

The Western Balkans is still seeing the impact of unresolved issues and legacies from the conflicts in the 1990s.

  • A large number of war crimes cases still need to be processed, most of them requiring regional, including judicial, co-operation.
  • More than 10,000 persons remain missing across the region.
  • The presence of landmines continues to negatively impact the security and safety of local populations and the potential for socio-economic development.

In addition, victims of war crimes need access to justice and social services without re-traumatisation. Many people, especially young people, are not fully informed on the recent history which shapes the region today. Over the years, these issues have contributed to creating an environment conducive to polarisation detrimental to the future of the region.

How is the EU responding?

Recognising that reconciliation cannot be imposed from the outside, but needs to be owned and driven by the region, the EU has been supporting the Western Balkans in this area of work for many years – for the benefit of the region and for the benefit of Europe as a whole.

Reconciliation and good neighbourly relations are key elements of enlargement and the stabilisation and association process, as set out in the Western Balkans Strategy. This is also reflected in the EU’s 2020 Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans.

Reconciliation and good neighbourly relations are also intrinsically linked to the rule of law, economic governance and regional cooperation. Overcoming the legacy of the past in the region will contribute to anchoring sustainable socio-economic development in the region.

Ongoing support 

Building on this important work so far, the EU continues to prioritise support to reconciliation, in a wide range of issues, including:

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