The Road to Thessaloniki: Cohesion and the Western Balkans

This is a paper produced by the European Stability Initiative in the year 2003. It states that there is a growing fear among the countries of the Western Balkans that they will be left on the margins of the new and integrated Europe. It recognises that the Western Balkan countries today face very different threats and opportunities from those which existed only three years ago. It notes that European policy instruments have not yet adapted sufficiently to meet these new challenges. There is a pressing need for new strategies to promote structural reform across the region, which is essential to reversing more than two decades of deep economic decline. The central proposal for this paper is that, at the Thessaloniki Summit in June 2003, the European Union formally incorporates cohesion as a guiding principle of EU policy towards the region, broadening the Stabilisation and Association Process to include additional forms of pre-accession assistance. This is supposed to send a strong signal to the countries of the region that the EU is serious about helping them reach their European destination.
European Stability Initiative (2003): The Road to Thessaloniki: Cohesion and the Western Balkans. Available from:, accessed 6.8.2006.


Publication Year


European Stability Initiative
Geographical focus
  • Western Balkans
Related organisations

Entry created by Elke Dall on May 29, 2007
Modified on May 29, 2007