About: Western Balkans

Enlargement 06-10-2020

Road and rail at centre of EU investment plan for Western Balkans

Alongside the annual country-specific enlargement reports on all EU hopefuls, the European Commission presented on Tuesday (6 October) an investment plan for the Western Balkans, which it hopes will bring investment to the region, spur greening and enhance regional cooperation.
Enlargement 16-07-2020

Serbia and Kosovo to resume rocky road towards an accord

Former war foes Serbia and Kosovo will restart talks in Brussels on Thursday (16 July) to normalise their strained relationship after a long stalemate, though the road to settling their many disputes is paved with stumbling blocks.
Global Europe 03-06-2020

Commission to rely more on financial engineering for external action

The European Commission's fresh budget proposal is set to increase the overall financing available for external action but it will rely more on financial engineering, with guarantees and 'multiplier effects', than on traditional funding via the EU long-term budget.
Enlargement 20-05-2020

Enlargement Package postponed until autumn, negotiation framework to go ahead in June

Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Várhelyi confirmed to EU lawmakers on Tuesday (19 May) that the publication of the European Commission's enlargement package has been postponed until autumn due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Eastern Europe 01-04-2020

Coronavirus used to promote anti-EU narrative in Balkans, report finds

The ongoing coronavirus crisis is feeding into the narrative that the EU is “turning its back” on the Western Balkans, the European External Action Service (EEAS) said in an updated report on ongoing disinformation campaigns surrounding the pandemic, published on Wednesday (1 April).
Eastern Europe 30-03-2020

EU announces COVID-19 help for Balkans, Eastern neighbours after criticism

The EU on Monday (30 March) announced nearly €40 million to help Western Balkan countries deal with the coronavirus, after Brussels came under fire for not doing enough for its neighbours.
Coronavirus 26-03-2020

MEPs urge Commission to support Western Balkans in coronavirus fight

Four MEPs have urged the European Commission to support the Western Balkans countries during the coronavirus pandemic by including them in the EU’s medical device export authorisation scheme, in a letter dated 20 March.
Eastern Europe 24-03-2020

The Commission’s Eastern Partnership strategy is disappointing

Distance should not be a criterion: Georgia is better prepared for EU membership than the frontrunners of the Western Balkans, writes Andrius Kubilius.
Enlargement 12-03-2020

EU enlargement needs better strategic communication

The advancement of peace, democracy, respect for human rights and rule of law in the Western Balkans region and their future in a strong and reformed EU is critical for the future of our continent and our fellow citizens, write...
Enlargement 24-02-2020

New Kosovo PM ready to revoke tariffs for Serbian goods

A few years ago, the newly elected Kosovo prime minister overturned Serbian trucks. But Albin Kurti now says he is ready to revoke tariffs introduced by his predecessor on Serbian goods.
Global Europe 20-02-2020

Trump names his star ambassador Grenell acting director of national intelligence

President Donald Trump on Wednesday (19 February) named US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, a strong supporter of his policies, to be acting director of national intelligence.
Europe's East 19-02-2020

Risk still there for Ukraine to become frozen conflict – OSCE chief

Despite recent rapprochement between Ukraine and Russia, the full implementation of the Minsk agreements is still "miles away" and there is still a risk that the separatist regions could turn into another "frozen conflict", OSCE Secretary-General, Thomas Greminger, said in an interview with EURACTIV.
Enlargement 17-02-2020

EU in ‘frank’ talks with Western Balkan nations seeking membership

European Council president Charles Michel on Sunday (16 February) met with leaders of the six Western Balkan nations seeking to join the EU, for 'frank' talks ahead of a key summit in Zagreb in May.
Enlargement 14-02-2020

Mini-Schengen is not a ‘plan B’ for the Western Balkans

The idea of an inclusive regional Schengen and cooperation among the six Western Balkan countries, based on the four freedoms of the European Union, is not a replacement but the best way to prepare for EU accession, writes Edi Rama.

North Macedonia ratifies NATO accession protocol, but still waiting for Spain

North Macedonia's parliament unanimously ratified NATO's accession protocol on Tuesday (11 February),  taking Skopje a step closer to becoming the military alliance's 30th member in the coming weeks.
Enlargement 12-02-2020

US envoy warns Russia seeks to divide Balkans

The US envoy for the Western Balkans warned on Tuesday (11 February) that Russia is seeking to divide the region and hinder its integration with the West.
Enlargement 11-02-2020

(Yet) another ‘credible EU perspective’?

The European Commission’s new proposal for enhanced accession process of the Western Balkans is 'a small masterpiece of European compromise' that could foster momentum and reforms. But it still lacks details on funding and convergence and realistic target years, write Milena Lazarević, Sena Marić and Strahinja Subotić.
Enlargement 22-01-2020

Serbia expects little from enlargement reform but hopes for more quality, speed

EU countries should soon reach a consensus on new enlargement methodology. Details remain unknown and it is not clear if the reform will also apply to Montenegro and Serbia, which are further along the accession path than the Western Balkans' other EU hopefuls.
Enlargement 21-01-2020

Czech FM: Visegrad countries will continue to promote EU enlargement

The Visegrad countries will need some time to close the ditches they have dug in recent years, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček told EURACTIV.cz in an interview. He also voiced doubts about the need for a reform of EU membership negotiations, demanded by France, saying the process is already reversible at any stage.
Global Europe 03-01-2020

‘Geopolitical’ Europe could struggle to take shape in troublesome 2020

Among the many foreign policy challenges facing the EU in 2020, the main theme will be how to assert itself on the world stage against China, the US and Russia, while upholding multilateralism and at least a semblance of global order.
Politics 20-12-2019

The Year in Review: Challenges and Choices of 2019

It’s been a very busy European election year and most of us are heading for a well-deserved Christmas break. Meanwhile, if you do fire up your browser, here you can catch up on our 30 most read stories that made waves in 2019.
Enlargement 11-12-2019

Give us hope, give us membership talks, North Macedonia tells EU

The EU must deliver soon on its promise to open membership talks with North Macedonia, the country's foreign minister has told AFP, warning that messages of hope were ringing hollow after three rejections.
Energy 11-12-2019

Coal pollution in the Western Balkans is a European problem

16 coal plants in the Western Balkans pollute as much as the entire EU fleet of 250 units, causing sickness and deaths across the continent. It’s high time to take action, write Viola von Cramon and Petros Kokkalis.
Enlargement 27-11-2019

Harnessing the potential of French proposals for the benefit of Western Balkans

In recent days, the discourse on the Western Balkans’ EU accession has been dominated by discussion of the (in)famous French non-paper, finally explaining the thinking behind the changes in the enlargement methodology announced earlier by President Macron. Milena Lazarevic explains how the French proposal might work.
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