If the Western Balkans are to overcome almost three decades of economic stagnation and crisis, they will need to double their annual growth rates. This will need a fundamental rethink of the EU’s enlargement policy, argue Tobias Flessenkemper and Dušan Reljić.
In Kosovo, far too much time has been spent on issues like border demarcation. Delivering peace instead of war is one thing but that is not enough when young people want a good education and their parents want jobs, warns Kosovar politician Kadri Veseli.
US Vice-President Joe Biden has chosen this week to come to what is still Europe’s great unfinished business – the West Balkans. Can Biden knock any sense into his Serb hosts? Unlikely, says Denis MacShane.
Shortly after the results came in, Sinn Fein declared it would seek a vote on Irish reunification. Consequently, by voting in favour of Brexit, British voters may have endangered the progress of the Northern Ireland Peace Process, writes Karlijn Jans.
European institutions and member states need to guarantee the necessary resources, via targeted financing for the towns and regions that host them, the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR) states in a petition.
Brussels’ Zaventem Airport has evolved into Frankenstein’s monster, processing more than 20 million passengers and millions of tonnes of cargo annually. And it’s growing, as jets fly round the clock over the rooftops of the city, write a number of concerned citizens and organisations.
In the EU Cohesion Policy programming for 2014-2020, Smart Specialisation Strategies are a new tool for regions to design their investment in research and innovation. Europe’s leading textile regions united in RegioTex initiative to realise this potential, writes Lutz Walter.
The Bulgarian government is planning to carve a major motorway through the spectacular Kresna Gorge, one of Europe’s richest nature havens, using EU funds. The consequences for wildlife and the local community could be damaging, writes Magda Stoczkiewicz.
Cohesion Policy, the European Union’s main investment policy tool, is soon to face a struggle for survival. One that could threaten the core values of solidarity and convergence of regional disparities on which the EU has been built up, write Nikos Lampropoulos and Francesco Molica.
Bas Verkerk is the mayor of the Dutch city of Delft and the president of the ALDE Group in the Committee of the Regions (CoR). He is rapporteur of the CoR opinion on 'An integrated Urban Agenda for the EU'.
Set up initially as an intergovernmental forum to promote cooperation among Arctic states, the Council is failing to adequately accommodate rising interest from outside the region and needs reform, argues, Roderick Kefferpütz.
The next long-term budget for the EU must recognise cities’ potential for playing a much greater role in the economic recovery and therefore the urgent priority for investment in urban Europe, writes Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
German statistics and anecdotal evidence show that far-right groups are more active in regions that were part of the former East Germany. Despite reunification, the eastern regions have remained less developed economically than the western regions, writes Stratfor.
Western and Eastern European governments fighting over some billions less or more to the EU's next multi-annual budget (2014-2020) would better focus on how to spend this precious resource, writes Miroslav Mojžiš.
If the scheduled extraordinary European Council in November does not agree on a framework for the 2014-2020 budget or if the European Parliament denies its approval, the future of the EU will be held hostage to an unstable and unmanageable environment, argues Ivailo Kalfin.
There are still significant economic disparities within the EU, such as the ones between North and South or among different EU regions. But EU member states have a common interest in tackling those challenges together, argues Rodi Kratsa-Tsagapopoulou.
Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain have a serious structural competitiveness problem, despite the billions of EU taxpayers’ money that these countries received as grants from EU development funds in the past decades, says Martin Bruncko.
Accession to the European Union means prosperity and new economic opportunities for businesses and people, or so goes the argument. In the case of Bulgaria, this is evidently true for the underworld, writes Barbara Frye.
The European Commission's proposals that urge member states to invest part of their regional development fund on low-carbon and energy-efficiency measures sounds very encouraging, argues Markus Trilling of the CEE Bankwatch Network. The question that remains though is whether these proposals will be sufficient enough to secure the conditions for a sustainable regional development.
As the budget debate begins, cohesion policy remains critical to creating the infrastructure that Central and Eastern European EU members need to unleash their full potential for growth and convergence with the rest of the Union, argues Hendrik Bourgeois of General Electric.
Romanian centre-right MEP Petru Constantin Luhan argues that cohesion funds, distributed on the basis of a region's lower GDP per head, should continue to be used to promote solidarity and competitiveness within the EU.