Bulgaria will take part in a joint bid to host the 2030 FIFA World Cup, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov announced on Friday (2 November), together with Serbia, Greece and Romania, a format dubbed by diplomats and journalists “the Orthodox Four”.
Kosovo on Thursday (18 October) took the first steps towards creating its own army, ten years after it declared independence, despite fierce opposition from the ethnic Serb minority and Serbia itself which called the move "a threat to peace".
Kosovo's president made a rare visit on Saturday (29 September) to a disputed, mainly ethnic Serb area in the north of the country, angering Belgrade just three weeks after Serbia's president infuriated Pristina by visiting the same area.
The European Commission made veiled criticism on Monday (10 September) against Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić, whose comments at the weekend appeared to glorify the late Serbian strongman Slobodan Milošević, seen by many as the chief culprit for the wars in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić pledged to continue talks with Kosovo officials to resolve differences but warned it would take a long time to reach a broad deal with Pristina that could allow both nations to move towards EU membership.
Expectations of …
The latest round of EU-sponsored Kosovo-Serbia talks effectively collapsed on Friday (7 September) as Serbia's president refused to sit down with his Kosovo counterpart, citing a ban by Kosovar authorities on his planned visit to the former Serbian province as a reason to reassess all relations with Pristina.
The presidents of Kosovo and Serbia have floated the idea of a land swap to settle their disputes. The proposal, involving the predominantly Serb northern Kosovo and Preševo Valley in southern Serbia, has been welcomed by some and criticised by others for fear it might create further instability in the Balkans.
EU ministers voiced concern on Friday (31 August) about talk of potential border changes between Kosovo and Serbia, warning that it could destabilise the Balkans, a region still simmering with ethnic tensions.
Paris wants to help Serbia solve its most delicate issues en route to the EU, French President Emmanuel Macron has told his Serbian counterpart. But Macron also said that both Serbia and the EU have to be reformed before any further EU enlargement. EURACTIV.rs reports.
Many Serbians see Kosovo's independence as a realistic option, according to a new survey. A majority are also not ready to make any personal sacrifices to regain control over the former Serbian province, whose independence Belgrade refuses to recognise, and are much more preoccupied with economic issues instead.
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.
The EU is still failing to address the issue of state capture in the Balkans and, by choosing stability over democracy in the region, has been undermining its own credibility and values. But now it must take strong actions in view of the 2025 admission perspective, writes Shpend Ahmeti.
The rule of law, judiciary and a legally binding agreement on normalising relations with Kosovo are the main challenges Serbia faces with on the road to EU membership, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker highlighted during a visit to Belgrade.
This week's talks between Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and her visiting Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vučić, produced few spectacular results. But analysts say that coming face to face was a good start, particularly for the EU hopeful Serbia.
All six countries in the Western Balkans have a European perspective, and Serbia as one of the leaders in the process could help the entire region's progress towards membership, Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn said in Belgrade on Wednesday (7 February).
Brussels expects to see a legally binding document regulating relations between Belgrade and Pristina before Serbia joins the EU and insists on Belgrade's continued dialogue with Kosovo, European Parliament President Antonio Tajani said in the Serbian capital this week.
Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is an irritation to many EU politicians. However, it is becoming clear that the new Austrian government relies on dialogue and wants to fulfil a "bridging function". EURACTIV Germany reports from Vienna.
Events in the Western Balkans may indeed seem peripheral to the EU, particularly as it braces for debates on the new budget and eurozone reform, but let’s not forget the old quote by Winston Churchill: “The Balkans produce more history than they can consume.”
A Kosovo Serb leader was shot dead outside his party offices in Serb-run northern Kosovo on Tuesday (16 January), raising concerns of renewed tensions in the Western Balkans and prompting a Serbian delegation to cancel EU-sponsored talks with Kosovo in Brussels.
A U.N. tribunal convicted on Wednesday (22 November) former Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic of genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Bosnia, including Europe's biggest massacre since World War II, and sentenced him to life in prison.
A comment by a senior United States official that countries aiming for EU membership should not 'play both sides' - a clear reference to Belgrade's relations with Moscow - has rekindled the debate in Serbia about whether the policy of having a foot in both camps is sustainable in the long term. EURACTIV Serbia reports.
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