In rethinking EU enlargement, we open the debate on ‘security/stability through democracy’ or ‘democracy through security/stability’. Should EU enlargement be informed by a short-term perspective of geostrategic calculations, or should it be based on a more profound long-term community-building process? What mechanism – policy tools are needed to have a credible EU enlargement policy with a realistic accession perspective and substantial democratic changes that will enhance Europe’s at large ‘collective security’ and ‘democratic prosperity’ (rule of law, respect for EU values and fundamental rights) which are both cornerstones, anchors, and engines of fostering the European integration in solid peace/stability and democracy. Such double-headed policy is key for the (Enlarged) European Union – especially during heightened geopolitical competition and democratic backsliding. How the EU (including its Member States) and the candidate countries will respond to the strains resulting from such an EU enlargement dilemma, and what trade-offs will have to be made to reconcile the tensions

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