About: Western Balkans

Enlargement 17-01-2018

Athens and Skopje move closer to resolving eternal name row

Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) are moving closer to resolving a 25-year-old name dispute, which should pave the way for Skopje to join NATO this year and possibly remove a major obstacle for its EU integration.

Politics 12-01-2018

Juncker throws his weight behind Bulgaria’s Western Balkan plan

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Friday (12 January) he would personally talk to each of the six Western Balkan leaders to hear what they expect from the plans by Bulgaria's EU presidency to revive their long-stalled EU membership prospects.

Enlargement 12-01-2018

Tusk warns against ‘Game of Thrones’ in Balkans

EU chief Donald Tusk warned in an emotional speech on Thursday night (11 January) against having a "game of thrones" in the Western Balkans, as Brussels seeks to encourage the region's efforts to reform, leave behind ethnic hostilities and join the bloc.

Politics 09-01-2018

The Brief – EU keeps squaring the vicious Balkan circle

Looking at 14 years of the EU's attempts to determine once and for all what to do with the Balkans (since the first EU-Balkan Summit in Thessaloniki in 2003), one cannot help wondering whether wholehearted commitment on both sides might have been lacking all along.

Enlargement 08-01-2018

Bulgarian Presidency: Non-European powers showing interest in Western Balkans

The Bulgarian EU Presidency sees a possible risk of Western Balkan hopefuls “looking elsewhere” while the bloc hesitates to move forward with their accession, the Bulgarian Ambassador to the EU told Brussels journalists on Monday (8 January).

Air Pollution 08-01-2018

Macedonian smog envelopes cities, emergency measures introduced

As 2017 ended and 2018 began, Macedonia took emergency measures against dense smog enveloping its cities, an annual winter scourge in the Western Balkans blamed on a mix of coal burning, ageing industry and high-polluting emissions from older vehicles.

Geopolitics loom large as Bulgaria takes over EU Presidency

Bulgaria, the European Union's poorest member state, on 1 January took over the bloc's six-month rotating presidency. The country will undoubtedly be under pressure by Turkey and Russia to move forward their difficult relations with the 28-members block.

Digital 05-12-2017

Gabriel to present plan in May to slash mobile roaming fees with Western Balkans

Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner in charge of digital policies, will announce a plan to get rid of mobile fees between the EU and Western Balkan countries at a May 2018 summit in Bulgaria.

Enlargement 05-12-2017

EU must ‘marry’ Western Balkans quickly to avoid new risks – Albania PM

The Western Balkans countries are in a much better shape than they were in the 1990s but the European Union should open accession talks with them as soon possible or risk seeing them wooed by Russia, China or radical Islam, the prime minister of Albania told an event in Brussels on Tuesday (5 December).

Enlargement 04-12-2017

Albania 2018: Preparing for a breakthrough

Albania looks to the EU to show that it recognises its potential as a partner, by starting accession negotiations in the spring of 2018. Ditmir Bushati explains why the next six months, under Bulgaria's presidency, will be of crucial importance.

Freedom of thought 01-12-2017

Wahhabism has a huge outreach in Belgium

The recent debate over the Salafist cleric in Belgium shows that non-violent extremism cannot be ignored, writes Eli Hadzhieva

Enlargement 28-11-2017

EU expansion receives an unlikely boost

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has a strong motivation for giving a boost to the largely stalled EU enlargement process, writes Sir Michael Leigh.