In 2019, the Dutch par­lia­ment vetoed the start of EU acces­sion nego­ti­a­tions with Alba­nia. Togeth­er with the simul­ta­ne­ous French veto against the start of talks with North Mace­do­nia and Alba­nia, it became clear how frag­ile the efforts to expand the EU in South­east­ern Europe are.

Many observers clas­si­fy the Nether­lands as fun­da­men­tal­ly scep­ti­cal about enlarge­ment, which is often attrib­uted to a neg­a­tive atti­tude towards EU enlarge­ment among the Dutch pop­u­la­tion. Although sev­er­al sur­veys have con­firmed this neg­a­tive atti­tude in the Nether­lands, most of them only exam­ine the sub­ject super­fi­cial­ly. It is still unclear how deeply root­ed this rejec­tion in the pop­u­la­tion is, whether this top­ic is of great impor­tance to the pop­u­la­tion in the Nether­lands, and how the neg­a­tive atti­tude towards EU enlarge­ment is relat­ed to atti­tudes towards the Euro­pean Union per se.

This research study aims to pro­vide answers to these open ques­tions. It is a coop­er­a­tion of the Balka­ns in Europe Pol­i­cy Advi­so­ry Group (BiEPAG), Euro­pean Fund for the Balka­ns (EFB) and d|part and it comes as a result of the rep­re­sen­ta­tive opin­ion poll on this top­ic in the Nether­lands. In addi­tion to the sur­vey, inter­views with Dutch politi­cians at nation­al and Euro­pean lev­el as well as focus groups with Dutch cit­i­zens were conducted.

The sur­vey exam­ines in depth the atti­tudes of the Dutch pop­u­la­tion towards EU enlarge­ment in the West­ern Balka­ns, the per­cep­tion of pre­vi­ous EU enlarge­ment steps, and the gen­er­al view of the EU.