Enlargement

Sassoli in Skopje: ‘Don’t lose hope’

05-11-2019

Visiting European Parliament President David Sassoli urged North Macedonia on Monday (4 October) not to lose hope after the recent failure of the European Council to reach a decision for opening EU accession talks.

12-11-2019

The Brief, powered by BP – Macron’s crush on Serbia

Last August French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a 5-minute speech in Serbian in Belgrade. The effect of this most extraordinary effort on the audience was huge. Just like for Kennedy in 1963, the magic worked.
12-11-2019

Von der Leyen locks horns with Macron over EU enlargement

The new European Commission has yet to be approved, but its president-elect has already locked horns with French President Emmanuel Macron over the future of EU enlargement.

Macron questioning NATO in Economist interview raises eyebrows about his methods

Emmanuel Macron presented his geopolitical vision in an interview with The Economist on Thursday (7 November), and it once again attracted a wide range of criticism. By speaking of a "NATO brain death", this recent diplomatic blunder is putting the French president's partnerships at risk.
09-11-2019

Europe risks losing strategic clout in Western Balkans

Trouble spots and tensions surrounding the European Union are continuing: Syria, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine, Eastern Mediterranean. In the south of the European Union, an arc of geopolitical instability is being formed and we must not allow it to expand, ten former foreign ministers warn in an open letter.
08-11-2019

A new momentum for progress in the Western Balkans

The EU decided last month not to open membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia just yet and a  broader discussion on the future of the EU is ongoing. But there is positive economic momentum in the Western Balkans, with more foreign investment coming in, and it needs to be maintained, write Borge Brende and Martina Larkin.
Global Europe 06-11-2019

Russia calls for closing UN office in Bosnia

Russia called Tuesday (5 November) for closing the office of the UN High Representative in Bosnia, claiming the senior UN official there is biased.
04-11-2019

US envoy knocks EU’s ‘bad message’ to the Balkans

Washington's envoy to the Western Balkans on Monday (4 November) criticised the EU for delaying the start of membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania, saying it sent a "bad message" to a region where all countries hope to join the bloc.
31-10-2019

Albania offers first comments on Macron’s enlargement damper

A conference in Tirana on Thursday (31 October) provided a rare insight into the state of mind of the country’s government, but also of other regional players, following the EU's recent failure to take a decision on opening accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia.
30-10-2019

EU socialists chief: North Macedonia name change deal should be ‘preserved’

When it fails to deliver its promises, the EU loses its credibility and shows little sense of historical responsibility towards the Balkans, Iratxe García, the chief of Social Democrats in the European Parliament, has said.
Eastern Europe 30-10-2019

Tamar Chugoshvili: The ‘dynamics’ in EU politics are hugely discouraging for Georgia

In a wide-ranging interview with EURACTIV, Georgian politician Tamar Chugoshvili speaks of the reactions in her country following the recent EU decision not to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, and of Georgia’s plans to remain in the EU orbit nevertheless.
25-10-2019

Russia sends S-400 missile defense systems to Serbia for military drill

Russia said on Thursday (24 October) a division of its S-400 missile defense system would take part in a military drill in Serbia, underlining Moscow’s wish to keep a traditional ally on side even as Belgrade pursues links with NATO and the European Union.
24-10-2019

The Brief – Balkanic optimism

The rollercoaster that is the Western Balkans is (almost) as unpredictable as the Brexit saga. Last week, the region's prospects appeared in the doldrums and there was little chance of a reversal of fortunes soon. Take a step back though and there is hope to be had.
Future EU 22-10-2019

Skopje on fire as MEPs slam EU leaders’ failure to open accession talks

Postponing the start of accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania was a "serious mistake" and "grave error", European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told MEPs on Tuesday, as negative effects already started showing in the Western Balkans.
21-10-2019

Macron’s veto undermines Balkan stability, Greek MEP says

French President Emmanuel Macron's veto against the accession of North Macedonia to the EU will open the door to external influence in the Western Balkans region, according to Syriza's MEP Stelios Kouloglou.
18-10-2019

All eyes on France after inconclusive enlargement summit debate

After a long night of inconclusive discussions, EU heads of state are set to return to the EU enlargement issue today (18 October). All eyes are on France, as Emmanuel Macron's position has so far been the major stumbling block for opening accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania.
17-10-2019

Visegrad 4, North Macedonia in last-ditch effort to change French enlargement veto

In a last-ditch effort on Wednesday evening (16 October) before a decisive EU summit, the Visegrad Four and North Macedonian officials tried to sway the enlargement mood in Brussels.
16-10-2019

France halts EU enlargement

France blocked the opening of accession talks with North Macedonia on Tuesday (15 October), despite the promise made by the EU to Skopje that its historic name deal with Greece, the Prespa agreement, would earn it a ticket to EU membership negotiations.
15-10-2019

Leaders must take action, giving signals is not enough

The EU should allow North Macedonia and Albania to sit at the EU accession negotiations table this week - anything else would be a grave political mistake, argues Sergei Stanishev.
14-10-2019

Failing to deliver on Albania and North Macedonia will haunt the EU

When the European Council gets together on 17-18 October to decide on the opening of accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, they will also be making a decision for the future of the European Union, writes Akri Çipa.
11-10-2019

Three countries agree mini Schengen in the Balkans

Three Western Balkan EU hopefuls, Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia, have decided to advance regional cooperation by forming the so-called "mini-Schengen" in order to improve life and the economy in the region until the EU opens its doors to them.
08-10-2019

Kosovo dissident Albin Kurti reaches halls of power

Political prisoner turned parliamentary troublemaker Albin Kurti is within reach of becoming Kosovo's next prime minister after an electoral triumph that could reshape the political scene in Europe's youngest democracy.
07-10-2019

Kosovo voters flock to opposition parties in parliamentary poll

The opposition leftist Vetevendosje party was set to come in first in Kosovo’s parliamentary poll on Sunday (6 October), but it will have to negotiate a coalition to form a government.
07-10-2019

What does it take for the EU to punch above its weight?

Since the start of the financial and economic crises in 2008/2009, the EU project has lost a considerable part of its standing. A recent forum has raised ideas for reversing the decline of the EU’s ranking in the global arena. Dušan Reljić explains how.
05-10-2019

Pompeo warns of ‘Russian bots’ and ‘Chinese bribes’ in the Balkans

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned against the “malign” influence of Russian trolls and Chinese investment during a brief tour through the Western Balkans on Friday (4 October). Washington frequently accuses Moscow of meddling in the region that sits...

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