21:15 GMT18 January 2021
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    The European Union appears to have changed its approach to the Balkan nations from a stick to a carrot – reports have it that the bloc has finally decided to add new members to its diverse family. But do the Balkans and the EU really want to get married?

    Not really, an expert of the Moscow-based International Institute of Humanitarian and Political Studies maintains. For starters, the European Union is plagued by internal divisions and will collapse under the weight of additional members.

    "Should the Balkan nations join the EU now, the bloc will collapse. It has already become quite ungovernable. The [processes] in the EU are multidirectional: bringing someone into the union means losing someone else. Theoretically speaking, the EU's enlargement will lead to the UK conducting a referendum and leaving the union," Vladimir Bruter told Sputnik.

    It is also a matter of responsibility and money for a bloc which unites many countries with troubled or depressed economies.

    "No one can take responsibility for new members and for the leveling of the financial and economic situations the old EU, the new EU and the bloc's junior members are in. Europe does not have funds for this," Bruter explained.

    The Balkan nations might or might not be aware of this dynamics, but they surely understand now that the EU is unable to tackle challenges they face.

    "The European Union is the only integration project in Europe. But its usefulness is diminishing. I think that on the one hand [the Balkan countries] don't mind [joining the bloc]. On the other hand, they understand that it is no longer enough," Bruter noted.

    Last week, media reports suggested that the European Union, primarily Germany, decided to accelerate the process of the bloc's expansion by adding Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia to the fold. The move is seen as an attempt to undermine the Balkans' warm relations with Russia.

    The initiative is said to be spearheaded by Berlin and supported by the United States.

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    Tags:
    EU enlargement, European integration, geopolitics, European Union, Balkans, Europe
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