About: Western Balkans

Global Europe 07-01-2022

Turkey steps up soft power efforts, neglecting domestic issues

Turkey is one of a handful of countries using charity and aid to raise its international profile and extend its influence to other countries, particularly in the Western Balkans, while struggling at home with poverty, lack of jobs, rising inflation, and increasingly authoritarian rule.
Enlargement 03-01-2022

The long decline: mass migration batters Balkans

Abandoned shops and mostly empty streets offer few signs of life in North Macedonia's Valandovo, where young people are fleeing in large numbers hoping to find a better life abroad.
Global Europe 21-12-2021

Three Western Balkan leaders sign agreements to open trade and travel for citizens

The leaders of Albania, Serbia, and North Macedonia signed six agreements on Tuesday (21 December) facilitating free movement of trade, people, and services throughout the three Western Balkan countries.
Future EU 10-12-2021

Macron presents France’s EU Council presidency priorities

French President Emmanuel Macron gave an overview on Thursday (9 December) of the priorities France wants to pursue when it takes over the EU Council Presidency in the first half of 2022. Reforming the border-free Schengen area, setting up a European defence system and a new European model were among the priorities he outlined. EURACTIV France reports.
Climate change 07-12-2021

Western Balkan coal power plants are the EU’s blind spot

The EU must step up action to insist that the Western Balkan countries bring down their pollution and comply with the emission requirements, write MEPs Petros Kokkalis and Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, who also propose instruments to achieve this goal.
Energy 18-11-2021

Down in a hole: Bosnia miners fear green revolution

For years, life in Bosnia's Breza revolved around its coal mine, but the global shift from fossil fuels to renewables threatens the industry that was once the pride of communist Yugoslavia.
Enlargement 05-11-2021

Enlargement 2021: Captured states, captured Commission

With regard to EU enlargement, the citizens of the Western Balkans, but also many EU citizens, expect EU institutions and the member states to abandon hypocrisy, writes Aleksandra Tomanić.
Enlargement 21-10-2021

EU, US warn about ‘divisive rhetoric’ in Bosnia, urge dialogue

The United States and the European Union voiced support on Wednesday (20 October) for Western Balkan countries' efforts to join the EU but expressed concern about "increasingly divisive rhetoric" in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
20-10-2021

EU to pour more money into strengthening rule of law in the Balkans

The European Commission, battling the growing threats to its core democratic values at home, has promised to dedicate more funds to rule of law programmes for countries in the Western Balkans, against a backdrop of increasing frustration in the region with the sluggish speed of the EU's enlargement process.
Enlargement 06-10-2021

EU leaders offer words, funds to disillusioned Western Balkans

EU leaders failed to make any further tangible commitment to enlargement on Wednesday (6 October), and instead promised once again "the European perspective" and broader economic support to the increasingly disillusioned Western Balkans, in the hope of keeping the region on its European path.
Enlargement 05-10-2021

EU leaders to restate Western Balkans enlargement commitment but without timeline

EU leaders are set to reconfirm their commitment to further enlargement ahead of a summit with the six Western Balkan hopefuls on Wednesday (6 October), offering much broader cooperation to the region but failing to commit to a timeline, according to a draft document seen by EURACTIV.
Global Europe 30-09-2021

Bosnia envoy urges EU to show the Balkans that Europe cares

Bosnia's international peace envoy has urged European Union leaders to send a message of encouragement to the six Balkan countries seeking membership of the bloc when they meet for a summit next week.
Enlargement 29-09-2021

EU no longer agrees on Balkan membership guarantee, diplomats say

The European Union, fearing a political backlash in member states, can no longer agree to give a guarantee of future membership to the six Balkan countries once promised a place in the club, according to four diplomats and an internal...
Coronavirus 24-09-2021

Albanian parliament agrees on mandating vaccines for ministers

Albanian Parliament voted yesterday in favour of mandating COVID-19 vaccines for all parliamentarians in hopes of encouraging vaccine uptake.
Enlargement 14-09-2021

Merkel labels Balkans EU accession ‘absolute geostrategic interest’

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday (13 September) that EU membership of the Western Balkans region, a theatre of competition between the West, China and Russia, is of absolute geostrategic interest for the bloc.
Enlargement 14-09-2021

US wants to see Western Balkans as part of Europe, ‘full stop’

Washington hopes EU countries "understand" that the Western Balkans should be part of Europe "full stop" and is worried about the weak message coming from European capitals, the newly appointed department of state official responsible for the region said on Monday (13 September).
Energy 07-09-2021

Western Balkans pressed to tackle deadly air pollution from coal

The Europe Union needs to put more pressure on the Western Balkans to decarbonise their coal-fuelled energy system as pollution levels remain well above compliance thresholds, according to a report published on Tuesday (7 September).
Energy 23-08-2021

A carbon neutral Europe? Not without the Balkans!

Increasing their share of renewable energy is crucial to the Western Balkans, but this must be done using the right technology for the region and with support from the European Union, argue Viola von Cramon-Taubadel and Thomas Waitz.
Enlargement 15-07-2021

Political scientists say EU has lost the battle for the Balkans

The EU has lost the battle for the Balkans, where Russia and China are offering bonuses without asking for reforms, geopolitical experts told an online conference organised by EURACTIV.bg this week, proposing increased cooperation and a Balkan common market as the best way forward.
Enlargement 21-06-2021

Integrity compliance in Western Balkans infrastructure projects

Civil society has an important role to play to make sure that corruption in infrastructure projects and wrong prioritisation do not derail a €30 billion EU financial plan for the Western Balkans, a group of authors write.

Energy transition in the Western Balkans

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As the European Union adopts tougher climate goals for 2030, aiming for net-zero emissions by mid-century, the bloc's next-door neighbours in the Western Balkans are struggling to keep up and face growing difficulties in the transition to a green economy.
Energy 10-06-2021

Official: Western Balkan countries are ‘milking coal power plants until the bitter end’

Disparities between the EU and Western Balkan countries on energy are only getting bigger, with many of them still addicted to highly-polluting coal power stations that provide cheap electricity as well as revenues to governments and the local population. “They’re milking them until the bitter end,” says Janez Kopac.
Global Europe 09-06-2021

EU not considering joining US in sanctioning Western Balkans

US-type sanctions for the Western Balkans are not on the agenda, the European Commission said after President Joe Biden signed order blocking property banning entry to the country of those "contributing to the destabilising situation in the" region on Tuesday.
Digital & Media 04-06-2021

Balkan media conference: ‘The EU barks rather timidly to enemies of press freedom ‘

Media freedom throughout Europe needs all the support it can get, but the situation in the Balkans is particularly worrying, participants told an online conference "Media Freedom in the Balkans” organised by EURACTIV.