Enlargement

20-05-2020

Enlargement Package postponed until autumn, negotiation framework to go ahead in June

Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi confirmed to EU lawmakers on Tuesday (19 May) that the publication of the European Commission's enlargement package has been postponed until autumn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
11-05-2020

Four Serbian MPs go on hunger strike

Four members of parliament have gone on hunger strike in Serbia. Two opposition MPs are protesting over Kosovo, while two others from the ruling party are taking a stand because they are dissatisfied with the opposition’s behaviour.
07-05-2020

Half-truths and double standards in Skopje’s language politics

The President of North Macedonia has no right to state that the country “doesn’t need the EU”  if it has to fulfil Bulgaria's conditionalities regarding the country’s language, because it is doing the same to its own ethnic Albanian citizens, writes Ziadin Sela.
07-05-2020

EU and Western Balkan leaders reaffirm ties in veiled response to China, Russia

EU leaders confirmed their "unequivocal support for the European perspective" to their Western Balkans counterparts during a video-summit on Wednesday (6 May). However, the final declaration doesn't make reference to a tangible time frame for the region's accession to the bloc.
06-05-2020

EU’s COVID-19 aid to reassure Western Balkan hopefuls as virus set to hijack summit

As EU leaders e-meet with their Western Balkans counterparts on Wednesday (6 May), the focus will be on a €3.3 billion EU aid package to fight the COVID-19 pandemic in the region. What is seen as an attempt to counter...
05-05-2020

An opportunity to end Kosovo’s isolation in Europe

The Covid-19 crisis with its overall ban on entry to the Schengen zone by non-EU residents and citizens may present a window of opportunity to allow visa free travel for Kosovars.
05-05-2020

EU leaders urge Skopje to solve its historic dispute with Bulgaria

The draft declaration of Wednesday's (6 May) EU summit with the leaders of the Western Balkans, seen by EURACTIV, calls on North Macedonia to find a solution to bilateral disputes in the implementation of the Treaty on Good Neighborhood Relations with Bulgaria.
05-05-2020

Western Balkans summit encourages ‘European perspective’ but omits enlargement

A virtual meeting of EU and Western Balkan leaders to discuss the future of the region on Wednesday (6 May) will produce a final declaration that is set to omit the word "enlargement" altogether, instead focusing on EU support during the COVID-19 pandemic and the importance of continued adherence to European value and reforms.
05-05-2020

Bulgaria could block North Macedonia’s EU path over common history interpretation

In today's edition of the Capitals, find out more about the controversial study claiming that 1.8 million people have the coronavirus in Germany, Orban accusing the EPP of spreading fake news about Hungary's coronavirus law, and so much more.
05-05-2020

Time for a new approach to the Western Balkans

The EU's relationship with the Western Balkans appears to have turned a positive corner in recent months, with the decision to start the much-delayed accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, and the provision of substantial COVID-19 related medical and financial support. Nonetheless, fundamental issues remain, warns Vladimir Krulj.
30-04-2020

Why Serbia’s President Vucic chose Richard Grenell over Angela Merkel

Although EU membership is Serbia’s official foreign policy goal, Russia and China – and perhaps the USA in the future – are providing something that is much more valuable for the Serbian leaders: a hope that the drawing of the national borders will be possible again, writes Filip Milacic
Europe's East 22-04-2020

Commission announces a 3 billion loan package for EU’s neighbours

The European Commission announced on Wednesday (22 April) a €3 billion loan package for ten enlargement and neighbourhood countries to limit the economic fallout of the pandemic.
13-04-2020

To Belgrade and beyond: Beijing exports China model of virus management

Last month, six Chinese medical professionals stepped off an Air Serbia jet in Belgrade to a red-carpet welcome from President Aleksandar Vučić and an array of cabinet ministers. After elbow-bump greetings, Vučić kissed Serbia’s flag, then China’s.
03-04-2020

Serbia to bring in Russian experts to help fight coronavirus

Serbia will bring in Russian doctors and experts to help it fight the coronavirus outbreak and undertake a major disinfection effort, President Aleksandar Vučić said on Thursday (2 April).
02-04-2020

Serbian journalist detained for coronavirus reporting

A Serbian journalist was detained by police on Wednesday (1 April) on charges of causing public unrest and damaging a hospital's reputation after she reported about a shortage of protective medical equipment available for staff at a medical centre in the northern Vojvodina province.
China 02-04-2020

Serbia sets the stage for Beijing’s mask diplomacy

When six Chinese doctors landed in Belgrade two weeks ago, Serbia's president greeted them with elbow-bumps before laying a kiss on their country's flag, a gesture of gratitude that sent Chinese social media aflutter.
Eastern Europe 01-04-2020

Coronavirus used to promote anti-EU narrative in Balkans, report finds

The ongoing coronavirus crisis is feeding into the narrative that the EU is “turning its back” on the Western Balkans, the European External Action Service (EEAS) said in an updated report on ongoing disinformation campaigns surrounding the pandemic, published on Wednesday (1 April).
01-04-2020

Annulment of Kosovo tariffs on Serbian, Bosnian imports causes new dispute

The outgoing Kosovo Premier Albin Kurti has said that the Kosovo government has decided to annul tariffs on imports from Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. But the head of the Serbian government's Office for Kosovo, Marko Đurić, says that this is fake news and urged the public not to fall for it.
Eastern Europe 30-03-2020

EU announces COVID-19 help for Balkans, Eastern neighbours after criticism

The EU on Monday (30 March) announced nearly €40 million to help Western Balkan countries deal with the coronavirus, after Brussels came under fire for not doing enough for its neighbours.
Coronavirus 26-03-2020

MEPs urge Commission to support Western Balkans in coronavirus fight

Four MEPs have urged the European Commission to support the Western Balkans countries during the coronavirus pandemic by including them in the EU’s medical device export authorisation scheme, in a letter dated 20 March.
Global Europe 26-03-2020

EU and US in opposite camps as Kosovo government toppled

Kosovo's government was toppled by a no-confidence vote Wednesday (25 March) less than two months after coming to power, plunging the unstable democracy into political uncertainty as it tries to halt the spread of coronavirus.
24-03-2020

Balkan hopefuls get green light to start EU talks, conditions still weigh on Tirana

EU ministers on Tuesday (24 March) approved starting membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania, a move hailed as restoring "credibility" after months of damaging delays and bickering.
Eastern Europe 24-03-2020

The Commission’s Eastern Partnership strategy is disappointing

Distance should not be a criterion: Georgia is better prepared for EU membership than the frontrunners of the Western Balkans, writes Andrius Kubilius.
23-03-2020

EU moves to start membership talks with North Macedonia, Albania

The European Council is set to give the green light this week for starting accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, in a long-awaited move for the Western Balkans after the enlargement process was effectively put on hold last year.
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