About: Western Balkans

Enlargement 11-03-2021

Bring Western Balkans back on the agenda, urge nine EU member states

Nine EU member states have called on the EU’s chief diplomat, Joseph Borrell, to have a strategic discussion on the Western Balkan countries and their prospects when EU foreign ministers meet in April, according to a letter made available to...
Enlargement 05-02-2021

Majority of French still against Balkans’ EU integration

Some 59% of French citizens do not see the prospect of the Western Balkans countries' EU accession in a positive light, a new study has found. But it also revealed increasing mistrust toward the bloc overall.
20-01-2021

Montenegro FM: ‘Zero problem doctrine’ for the Western Balkans

Montenegro will be pursuing a "zero problem doctrine" with its neighbours, while EU accession remains its main priority, Djordje Radulović, the country's new foreign minister, told EURACTIV in an exclusive interview only weeks after the EU hopeful saw its first democratic change of power in 30 years.
Europe's East 06-01-2021

Thirteen countries call on EU to support Eastern Partnership vaccine efforts

Thirteen member states issued a call to the European Commission to support the Eastern Partnership countries in their efforts to obtain affordable and fair access to the COVID-19 vaccines, according to a joint letter seen by EURACTIV.
Enlargement 23-11-2020

EU enlargement: Beware the veto epidemic

Dangling its veto, Bulgaria only uses its position of EU member to achieve some of its foreign policy interests, in the same way that many other have done before. The problem is that the EU does not have the desire and the way to discourage such unilateral actions, writes Orhan Dragaš.
Eastern Europe 02-11-2020

Importance of US elections for Western Balkans

Most Serbian citizens are not informed about the main topics of the US elections, let alone about the way of electing the president of the United States. They view these elections, just like the previous ones, mainly through the prism of resolving the Kosovo issue, writes Srđan Majstorović.
Energy 30-10-2020

How Bulgaria gave Gazprom the keys to the Balkans

It was a well-kept secret that Gazprom, Russia's oil and gas juggernaut, has laid its hands on key gas connections along the borders of Bulgaria until a journalistic investigation by EURACTIV Bulgaria exposed this.
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.