Enlargement

14-09-2021

Merkel labels Balkans EU accession ‘absolute geostrategic interest’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday (13 September) that EU membership of the Western Balkans region, a theatre of competition between the West, China and Russia, is of absolute geostrategic interest for the bloc.
14-09-2021

US wants to see Western Balkans as part of Europe, ‘full stop’

Washington hopes EU countries "understand" that the Western Balkans should be part of Europe "full stop" and is worried about the weak message coming from European capitals, the newly appointed department of state official responsible for the region said on Monday (13 September).
09-09-2021

Vucic and Orban formalise their ‘special relationship’

Hungary, whose government has been at odds with Brussels for a long time, has emerged as a major pro-Serbian lobbyist within the EU and this special "illiberal" relationship was formalised on Wednesday (8 September), Serbian journalist Darko Čačić reports for EURACTIV Bulgaria.
08-09-2021

Greece reassures Serbia its position on Kosovo has not changed

Greece will stick to its position of not recognising Kosovo's statehood and has called on both Serbia and its former province to continue EU-facilitated talks, Alternate Minister of Foreign Affairs Miltiadis Varvitsiotis told EURACTIV Serbia in an interview.

Slovenia aims to make EU-Western Balkans summit regular feature

Slovenia's EU presidency will host an EU-Western Balkans summit in early October and its desire is to make these summits a regular annual event as a means of accelerating the EU enlargement process, Foreign Minister Anže Logar has said.
China 01-09-2021

Hungary, Poland, Serbia: China’s backdoors to Europe

China benefits from divisions that prevent the EU from forming a unified front against it. That is why relations with EU members Hungary and Poland, as well as with the Western Balkans and Serbia in particular, are getting stronger, writes Antonia Colibasanu.
Global Europe 31-08-2021

EU removes US, Western Balkan countries from COVID safe list for non-essential travel

The European Union on Monday (30 August) recommended that its member states reimpose travel restrictions on US tourists over rising covid infections in the country.
Global Europe 20-08-2021

US hails Albania for taking in Afghans

The United States on Thursday (19 August) saluted Albania, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Uganda for agreeing to take in Afghans being evacuated in a major airlift after the Taliban victory.
19-08-2021

Serbian President fumes as Twitter exposes his ‘friendly media’

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić has compared himself to Donald Trump as a politician victimized by Twitter, after the social media took the decision to tag many of the media organisations which support him as “pro-government”.
19-08-2021

Serbia’s emergence as China’s new strategic hub

Membership of the EU remains Serbia’s strategic goal, as two thirds of its trade exchange is with the EU. However, Serbia has become increasingly close to China in recent years in a plethora of areas, writes Serbian journalist Darko Čačić.
16-08-2021

Albania, Kosovo say ready to temporarily house Afghan refugees

Albania and Kosovo have accepted a US request to temporarily take in Afghan refugees seeking visas to enter the United States, the country two countries said on Sunday (15 August).
Global Europe 03-08-2021

Bosnia’s new top international envoy takes office amid tensions

German politician Christian Schmidt on Monday (2 August) took over as the top international envoy in Bosnia despite opposition from Russia and Bosnian Serbs who consider him "illegal" and say they won't work with him.
26-07-2021

Serbia fumes over Croatia’s plan to put Tesla on euro coins

Croatia's plan to put famous inventor Nikola Tesla on its euro coins has sparked criticism in Serbia, whose central bank said Monday (26 July) it would take the issue to the EU.
23-07-2021

Outgoing Bosnia peace envoy imposes jail terms for genocide denial

Bosnia's outgoing international peace overseer decreed amendments to its criminal code on Friday (23 July) to allow jail terms for the denial of the 1995 Srebrenica genocide, a frequently expressed view among nationalist Serbs.
Digital & Media 23-07-2021

Telekom Srbija: Vucic’s weapon to stifle media freedom

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić bases his power largely on media influence. In this respect, state-owned cable and broadband provider Telekom Srbija is used as a political weapon, writes Darko Čačić.
China 22-07-2021

Montenegro starts paying off $1 billion Chinese road loan

Montenegro paid the first instalment of a billion-dollar road loan from China that critics say could wreck the Balkan nation's economy.
15-07-2021

Political scientists say EU has lost the battle for the Balkans

The EU has lost the battle for the Balkans, where Russia and China are offering bonuses without asking for reforms, geopolitical experts told an online conference organised by EURACTIV.bg this week, proposing increased cooperation and a Balkan common market as the best way forward.

Logar quizzed on Western Balkans non-paper, Iran statements

Presenting Slovenia's EU presidency priorities in foreign affairs to the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister Anže Logar faced questions by MEPs about a non-paper on redrawing Western Balkan borders, the situation of North Macedonia and Albania, and PM Janez Janša's recent statements about Iran, and media freedom.
15-07-2021

Avant-garde proposal for EU enlargement to the Western Balkans

A binary ‘in or out’ concept of membership has become obsolete for a region that has been on its path towards the EU already for two decades. A group of think tanks have now come up with a proposal to unpack the accession process and allow progressive membership in stages, write Milena Lazarevic and Michael Emerson.

Slovenia, Bulgaria seek compromise on North Macedonia’s EU bid

Slovenia's President Borut Pahor met his Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev on Thursday (8 July) to discuss Bulgaria's veto on North Macedonia's bid to join the EU.
09-07-2021

EU to help Western Balkans boost youth employment schemes

EU employment and social affairs ministers and their counterparts from the Western Balkans met in Slovenia for talks on measures to get young people into the labour market, with regional officials calling for the implementation of a work guarantee scheme for youth.
08-07-2021

Game on for the Premier League in Serbia?

Luring them with football, Serbia’s leadership want to lock Balkan audiences into their favoured TV channels carrying anti-western narratives, which correspond with the country’s growing ties to the likes of China, Russia and Hungary, writes Marko Milosavljevič.
06-07-2021

Analysis: Vucic’s balancing act with the EU

Serbia's progress towards the EU should not be expected as long as Aleksandar Vučić is the most powerful politician in the country, writes Darko Čačić, in an article he submitted to EURACTIV Bulgaria.
01-07-2021

The end of the Serbia-Belarus tango

Serbia has for many years claimed to maintain friendly and even brotherly relations with Belarus, but this did not prevent Belgrade from joining the EU sanctions against the regime of Aleksander Lukashenko, writes Orhan Dragaš.