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Enlargement 13-06-2006

Albania: First step towards EU membership

On 12 June 2006 Albania signed as the third Western Balkan state a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU. Negotiations on a similar agreement with newly independent Montenegro are underway.
Central Europe 21-01-2004

Prodi urges faster reforms in Albania

Commission President Romano Prodi has called on Albania to speed up reforms as part of its bid to join the EU.
Central Europe 16-07-2003

EU to spend 46.5 million euro on Albania’s modernisation efforts

The Commission adopted its Annual Programme for Albania on 15 July, making the fight against crime and economic development the main priorities for EU support in 2003.
Enlargement 23-10-2002

EU to open association negotiations with Albania

The Council has authorised the Commission to open negotiations on a Stabilisation and Association Agreement with Albania.
Central Europe 20-12-2001

EU adopts new assistance strategy for Croatia and Albania

The European Commission has adopted new strategic frameworks for its financial assistance to Croatia and Albania. The so-called CARDS programme (Community Assistance for Reconstruction, Democratisation and Stabilisation) supports the participation of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Yugoslavia in the EU's Stabilisation and Association Process.
Enlargement 05-10-2001

EU postpones donors’ conference for Macedonia

The European Union has decided to postpone an international donors' conference for Macedonia, saying the Macedonian government has not granted ethnic Albanians enough rights. The conference, scheduled for 15 October, will not go ahead until the country's government implements reforms agreed under a peace agreement with ethnic Albanian guerrillas.
Enlargement 27-09-2001

NATO approves new operation in Macedonia

NATO's 19 defence ministers have approved the deployment of a new military force to oversee the implementation of the peace agreement between the Macedonian government and ethnic Albanian guerrillas. The new NATO force has received the unanimous support of the United Nations Security Council on 26 September.
Enlargement 25-09-2001

Macedonia’s parliament takes another step towards peace

The Macedonian parliament has given initial approval to constitutional changes that would improve the position of the Albanian minority. The reforms, which are part of the EU and NATO-backed peace plan, will be first subjected to a ten-day public consultation and then passed to the parliament for final approval.
Enlargement 25-09-2001

Outcome of Polish elections to effect enlargement process?

According to exit polls, the opposition Democratic Left Alliance (SLD) has secured a majority of 41.5 per cent in Poland's general elections on Sunday, which is not enough to form a single-party government. The leftist alliance has pushed the ruling Christian-Democratic Solidarity block out of parliament.
Enlargement 21-09-2001

NATO willing to provide protection for observers in Macedonia

NATO Secretary General George Robertson indicated on 20 September that the Alliance was prepared to extend its mission in Macedonia to protect international observers. NATO received a formal request from Macedonia's president Boris Trajkovski for "bodyguard" forces.
Central Europe 18-09-2001

European Economic Area 2 in the Balkans?

A two-day European Parliament conference in Brussels is dealing with the stabilisation and reconstruction of the Balkan countries. Germany's Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer has proposed the creation of a "European Economic Area 2" to the five Balkan countries - Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Yugoslavia.
Enlargement 18-09-2001

Macedonia approves new NATO protection force

Under pressure from the EU, Macedonia approved on Monday 17 September the deployment of a NATO security force on its territory, in order to secure the fragile peace agreement with the Albanian minority.
Enlargement 13-09-2001

Will NATO force in Macedonia be replaced?

Over the past week there has been a great deal of speculation over the fate of Macedonia after NATO's mission ends on 26 September. The European Union, Russia and NATO have all offered different solutions varying from a military force staying in Macedonia under a United Nations mandate to an extension of NATO's mission.
Enlargement 10-09-2001

EU backs new NATO-led force for Macedonia

European Union foreign ministers called for a smaller NATO-led force to remain in Macedonia to protect OSCE observers when NATO's "Essential Harvest" operations end on 26 September. The EU ministers rejected a proposal by the EU's special envoy to Macedonia, François Léotard, that the EU should send in its own force to oversee the return of over 70,000 displaced persons.
Enlargement 07-09-2001

Macedonian parliament gives yellow light to reforms

Macedonia's parliament on Thursday (6 September) gave preliminary approval to start working on political reforms aimed at granting greater rights to the ethnic Albanian minority. The 91 to 19 vote also allows NATO to resume weapons collection from ethnic Albanian guerrillas.
Enlargement 06-09-2001

EU may send force to Macedonia

The European Union's special envoy to Macedonia, François Léotard, on Wednesday (5 September) suggested the EU send a force to replace NATO's 4,800 multinational force after their 30-day mission ends. If the proposal is accepted by EU Member States, it would be the first deployment of a European military force independent of the US in the Balkans.
Enlargement 03-09-2001

Macedonians to resume discussion of peace plan

The Macedonian parliament will resume its discussions Monday, 3 September, on a peace agreement between Macedonians and ethnic Albanian rebels under Western pressure. The parliament's speaker Ms Stojan Andov suspended the debate on Saturday, 1 September, demanding that refugees be first allowed to return to their homes in the areas controlled by ethnic Albanian guerrillas.
Enlargement 31-08-2001

Macedonian parliament set to debate constitutional reform

The Macedonian parliament is set to debate and ratify a political settlement that would grant greater rights to the country's ethnic Albanian minority. The parliament meets after the rebels met their first deadline for handing over weapons. Macedonia's President, Boris Trajkovski is also expected to launch a campaign for political and public support for the peace plan, starting with a televised speech to the parliament.
Enlargement 27-08-2001

Explosions mar start of NATO mission in Macedonia

A bomb explosion in Tetovo, which killed two Macedonians, and another explosion in front of the Albanian embassy in the capital Skopje marred the start of NATO's mission in Macedonia. NATO troops began pouring into the war-torn Balkan country over the weekend for a month-long mission during which they plan to collect 3,300 weapons from ethnic Albanian rebel forces.
Enlargement 22-08-2001

NATO approves Macedonia force

NATO has approved plans to deploy 3500 troops in Macedonia to collect arms from ethnic Albanian rebels in an operation it considers thraught with risk. The deadline expired for NATO member states to raise objections at noon (on 22 August) and the North Atlantic Council has now agreed to issue the execution directive despite concerns over the fragility of the ceasefire. The directive authorises the Supreme Allied Commander to release the activation order for Operation Essential Harvest.
Enlargement 16-08-2001

NATO troops to Macedonia

NATO leaders decided at a meeting in Brussels on 15 August to deploy 400 troops to Macedonia as part of the peace deal agreed earlier this week. The British troops will travel to Skopje at the weekend where they will lay the groundwork for the full force of 3,500 NATO troops to be deployed. The NATO force's purpose is to complete the disarmament of ethnic Albanian guerillas in a 30 day mission codenamed Operation Essential Harvest.
Enlargement 15-08-2001

Disarmament pledge clears way for NATO deployment

Ethnic Albanian guerillas in Macedonia agreed on 14 August to disarm following promises of an amnesty from President Boris Trajkovski thereby removing the last formal obstacle to the deployment of NATO troops. The North Atlantic Council will meet today in Brussels to decide whether the deployment of NATO troops in the disarmament mission, codename Operation Essential Harvest, should commence.
Enlargement 14-08-2001

Macedonian peace deal signed

A peace agreement was signed on 13 August by the Macedonian government and ethnic Albanian leaders in a bid to put a stop to escalating violence in the country. The NATO secretary-general, George Robertson, and the EU's high representative, Javier Solana, both attended the signing ceremony that their respective organisations had been influential in bringing about. They recognised that the agreement represents merely the first step towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict and called for all parties to back the deal.
Enlargement 13-08-2001

Macedonia peace deal in doubt

The Macedonian government proclaimed a unilateral ceasefire on 12 August in a bid to ensure that the signing of a peace deal with Albanian guerrillas goes ahead. However, renewed fighting between government forces and ethnic Albanian guerrillas in the early hours of 13 August has called into question the likelihood of the signing ceremony going ahead.
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