Bojana Zoric
Bojana Zoric after graduation at the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities in Zagreb in 2014 with double Master's degree in Russian language and Pedagogy, enrols at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies in European Union-Russia studies MA programme. She defends her thesis on the Russian impact on the Western Balkan countries' EU accession and graduates in 2017 with cum laude. Her academic focus is on the European Union relations with post-Soviet countries and the Western Balkans. During her studies, she participated in various schools and exchange programmes in Ukraine, Russia, Belgium, and Norway. Recently, she finished her internship in a Swedish liberal party foundation in Stockholm, where she assisted the implementation of projects in Belarus, Ukraine, and Russia as well as she engaged directly with political parties, civil society activists and election observation organisations. She plans to continue her academic work by enrolling in the PhD programme.
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Journal of Liberty and International Affairs | Vol. 3, No. 2 | September 2017
Bojana Zoric
The matter of EU enlargement to the Western Balkans has become overshadowed by pressing issues such as Brexit, the rise of the radical right and international terrorism. Notwithstanding the pressure to address these issues accordingly, increasing tensions and ethnic outbursts across the Western Balkan region are reason enough for the European Union to devote significant attention to accession talks. This article addresses the Western Balkan countries' Europeanization process with consideration of Russia as an external actor. By assessing the candidate countries' progress amid EU negotiations, the article suggests that the countries' bilateral ties with Russia have an impact on the Europeanization process which is particularly visible in Chapter 31 Foreign, security, and defence policy of the acquis communautaire. The broader geopolitical framework that comprises the multifaceted relationship between the EU and Russia is crucial for understanding the dynamics of EU-Western Balkans-Russia triangle.
Western Balkans, European Union, Europeanization process, Russia, EU-Russia relations, geopolitics

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