Playing fast and loose with the Balkans is not a great idea. The EU has already found that out the hard way, more than once. Now the region needs clarity and supervision in order to gradually progress towards mainstream Europe. Apparently Emmanuel Macron missed that memo.
Bulgaria, which currently holds the rotating EU Presidency, ranks last among all EU countries in terms of media freedom. It is also the worst in the Western Balkans, a region Sofia hopes to bring closer to the EU.
With the Western Balkans accession talks underway, the EU’s enlargement policy is advancing. In the case of Turkey, however, there is a deadlock. In an interview with EURACTIV Germany, Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn comments on the recent developments.
At the Varna summit, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told his interlocutors that the EU should cooperate in Syria in terms of helping Syrian refugees to go back to their homes, Turkish ambassador to the EU Faruk Kaymakcı told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview.
Joining the EU means meeting all of its rules and criteria, including energy legislation. But bloc-hopeful Kosovo, just like its other Balkan neighbours, is struggling to make any headway there, writes Philippe Charlez.
A Croatian parliamentary delegation cut short its official visit to Serbia on April 18 after an incident caused by Serbian Radical Party leader, MP and convicted war criminal Vojislav Šešelj. The incident highlighted the fragility of relations between erstwhile Balkan foes, more than 20 years after ethnic wars ended.
The European Commission's latest enlargement report has acknowledged Serbia's progress in the fight against corruption and organised crime and its growing role in regional cooperation, but also highlighted a lack of improvement in the freedom of speech and media.
The fact that the Western Balkans is being increasingly prioritised on the European agenda is no longer sufficient To achieve real progress in EU integration, the Western Balkan countries need a clearly defined plan that includes a concrete timeframe for all six countries, writes Ilhan Kyuchyuk.
There could be no stronger incentive to overcome regional disputes and normalise relations than if the region would receive a clear message that all six countries will join the EU at the same time, writes Bekim Çollaku.
Migrants staying in Serbia are in a difficult situation and their integration into society should be enabled through education for minors and job opportunities for adults, a representative of the EU delegation to Serbia told EURACTIV.rs.
The frontrunner in Sunday's presidential election in Montenegro said he wants closer ties to the West and would also welcome improved relations with Russia that soured when the country became NATO's newest member.
To ensure the security and stability of the Western Balkans, the perspective of membership may no longer be enough. The EU should push back against Russian propaganda and engage in smarter outreach. It needs a new, more confident approach, writes Sir Graham Watson.
Serbia appears to be moving closer towards resolving relations with its former province of Kosovo - a key issue holding back its EU membership bid. President Aleksandar Vučić, who is trying to get cross-party support for a lasting solution, expects "very difficult talks" on Kosovo this month.
Europe's digital clocks are "back on time" after its power operators compensated for a shortfall in the continent's electricity grid because of a row between Serbia and Kosovo, the operators said Tuesday (3 April).