For the European defence efforts, getting rid of the UK's torturous approach toward a common defence policy presented an opportunity the governments and European institutions eagerly seized this year. But there is little time to rejoice.
The region of former Yugoslavia and Albania has long ago been swallowed up by the EU. Yet, it is doomed to permanent marginalisation unless the EU does not open its structural and cohesion funds, or provide other source of zero-priced capital, writes Dušan Reljić.
European Union Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker warned on Friday (5 October) of a possible new war in the Balkans if Bosnia, Albania, Serbia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo do not feel the EU is serious about offering them future membership.
Closer ties to the West are the most effective tool to counter jihadism and Islamic radicalisation in the Western Balkans, experts told a conference in Brussels this week. Meanwhile, concerns about returning foreign terrorist fighters remain.
Macedonia is still going through a painful reconstruction as a society. But if we really believe that the Western Balkans region belongs in Europe, it is time to insist on respecting European values, writes Ivana Jordanovska.
Brussels should accept an agreement between Serbs and ethnic Albanians to settle their long-standing dispute over Kosovo, a top EU official said on Sunday (26 August), seeking to dispel fears that any redrawing of Balkan borders might reignite feuds in the volatile region.
The Commission is satisfied with its Western Balkans strategy, as it has triggered a new dynamic in the region. In an interview with EURACTIV Germany, Commissioner for Enlargement, Johannes Hahn, however, pleads for realism.
The offer by the European Commission to let the College meet on an annual basis with Georgia’s leadership is unique when comparing it to relations between the EU and other third countries, writes Steven Blockmans.
With no major faux pas or any ground-breaking policy change to speak of, Bulgaria’s first term as EU President is unlikely to go down in the annals of history. Yet Sofia can nevertheless look back on its six months in office with a sense of satisfaction, writes Vladislava Gubalova.
China remains open for trade with foreign partners and can only benefit from an economically strong Europe, its premier said on Saturday (7 July) as he pressed for expanded ties with the continent's eastern wing while waging a tariff war with Washington.
Though the EU has lately been busy dealing with issues such as Brexit and the migration crisis, it has found time to talk of the integration of the Western Balkans. A steady integration of the region is good news indeed as this could lead to a federalised Europe and a complete Union, writes Bernard Kouchner.
EXCLUSIVE / Prime Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Zoran Zaev recounts one of the most extraordinary political developments in recent times: the agreement with Greece on the long-standing name dispute that has blocked NATO membership and the start of EU accession talks.
The attitude that the EU owes something to the candidate countries in the Western Balkans is wrong, as well as the belief that concerns over the growing Russian influence in the region will be enough to bring someone "closer to the EU”, according to the EU Ambassador to Montenegro, Aivo Orav.
Everyone was taken by surprise on Tuesday (26 June) when EU ministers agreed to set out a path for opening accession talks with Albania and Macedonia in June 2019. Many were doubtful this would be agreed, at a time when the EU is facing difficult challenges, write Adnan Ćerimagić and Zoran Nechev.
The European Union agreed a compromise on Tuesday (26 June) whereby it would open negotiations to join the bloc with Albania and Macedonia in June next year, provided a string of conditions on rule of law, crime and corruption are met.
EXCLUSIVE / EU capitals should keep their word and open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania at the 28-29 June summit, Greek Minister of Foreign Affairs Nikos Kotzias told EURACTIV.com in a wide-ranging interview.
The member states are expected to vote next week on whether to open accession talks with Albania, as the Commission has recommended. The Balkan country has made progress in improving the rule of law but its EU prospects remain vague as several EU capitals have called for caution in planning the bloc's next enlargement.
In a wide-ranging interview, Victor Negrescu, the Romanian Minister Delegate for European Affairs, presents the priorities of the upcoming Romanian Presidency (1 January-30 June 2019), during which the European elections will be held, as well as the first post-Brexit EU summit.