European Union leaders on Thursday encouraged Balkan countries to continue on the path of EU-oriented reform but were cool on any of the six joining the bloc in the near future. Yet the prospect of accession to the EU has been a powerful driver of democratic reform in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and its former territory of Kosovo. Amid a rise in support for far-right parties and populist politicians, divisions have surfaced among the 28 EU countries, particularly on how to manage Europe's migration challenge, and the political and public appetite for expansion has dwindled. On top of that, Britain is set to leave the EU next year — the first country ever to do so. The EU welcomed in 10 mostly Eastern European nations in 2004, then Bulgaria and Romania three years later.
Source: ABC News May 17, 2018 07:10 UTC