About: Western Balkans

Future EU 13-07-2018

The Bulgarian Presidency: more about style than substance

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.
Europe's East 09-07-2018

Why NATO should double-down on Georgian membership

When NATO leaders meet in Brussels this week they should have Georgia on their minds, write Amanda Paul and Ana Andguladze.
Enlargement 06-07-2018

The Western Balkan challenge

The promise of future integration in the European Union helped many states on their journey to full democracy, writes Ditmir Bushati.
Enlargement 05-07-2018

Progress for Western Balkan nations – a step forward for federalised Europe

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.
Enlargement 28-06-2018

Albania and Macedonia – a ray of hope and a warning for Balkans

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.
Climate change 19-06-2018

Why new coal in Turkey and the Balkans will test China’s and EU’s climate leadership

The EU and China have to live up to their responsibilities on climate change and use every opportunity to support the Western Balkans and Turkey to move beyond coal. This means renewable energy sources and energy efficiency, not new coal, argue Elif Gündüzyeli and Igor Kalaba.
Enlargement 29-05-2018

Western Balkan enlargement will catalyse a stronger Europe

Addressing the reforms needed to prepare the six Balkan countries for EU accession can be cathartic in effect, and reinvigorate the European Union, writes Andrey Kovatchev.
Energy 17-05-2018

China, the Western Balkans and the EU: Can three tango?

With China pouring loans into the Western Balkans, the EU must step in to ensure this money benefits the region, writes Wawa Wang.
Enlargement 14-05-2018

Why we need to stabilise the Western Balkans

As Europe is confronted by different visions about its future, the question remains how these different visions will affect the developments in the Western Balkans. The Balkans remain fragile, and the external pressures and internal divisions could deliver fresh instability in the region.
Enlargement 03-05-2018

Defeating extremism in the Balkans

As a region deeply connected to the EU, the Western Balkans should no longer be forgotten. With Austria’s upcoming presidency of the EU, it is high time to reboot the region’s economic development and its integration into the Union, as well as recognise its progress in countering terrorism, writes Peter R. Neumann.
Enlargement 20-04-2018

Beyond coal, nationalism and EU accession: Squaring the circle for Kosovo

Joining the EU means meeting all of its rules and criteria, including energy legislation. But bloc-hopeful Kosovo, just like its other Balkan neighbours, is struggling to make any headway there, writes Philippe Charlez.
Enlargement 18-04-2018

A year of opportunity for the Balkans

The fact that the Western Balkans is being increasingly prioritised on the European agenda is no longer sufficient To achieve real progress in EU integration, the Western Balkan countries need a clearly defined plan that includes a concrete timeframe for all six countries, writes Ilhan Kyuchyuk.
Enlargement 13-04-2018

The case for a joint ‘Western Balkans six’ accession to the EU

There could be no stronger incentive to overcome regional disputes and normalise relations than if the region would receive a clear message that all six countries will join the EU at the same time, writes Bekim Çollaku.
Enlargement 12-04-2018

Time for a Juncker re-set: The importance of a membership perspective for the Western Balkans

To ensure the security and stability of the Western Balkans, the perspective of membership may no longer be enough. The EU should push back against Russian propaganda and engage in smarter outreach. It needs a new, more confident approach, writes Sir Graham Watson.
Enlargement 27-03-2018

The Berlin Process in the new enlargement strategy

Since its first summit in Berlin in 2014, the Berlin Process - a regional cooperation initiative bringing together seven key member states and the six Western Balkan countries - has provided a unique contribution to regional cooperation, writes Ardian Hackaj.
Enlargement 22-01-2018

A crazy idea  for a Western Balkans innovation agenda

If the EU plans to use the same old carrots and sticks to push the region further into enlargement territory, we are all in a situation ripe for disappointment, writes Georgi Kamov.
Enlargement 04-12-2017

Albania 2018: Preparing for a breakthrough

Albania looks to the EU to show that it recognises its potential as a partner, by starting accession negotiations in the spring of 2018. Ditmir Bushati explains why the next six months, under Bulgaria's presidency, will be of crucial importance.
Freedom of thought 01-12-2017

Wahhabism has a huge outreach in Belgium

The recent debate over the Salafist cleric in Belgium shows that non-violent extremism cannot be ignored, writes Eli Hadzhieva
Enlargement 28-11-2017

EU expansion receives an unlikely boost

Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has a strong motivation for giving a boost to the largely stalled EU enlargement process, writes Sir Michael Leigh.
Global Europe 22-11-2017

Reversing negative trends in the EU’s neighbourhood policy

With the Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit this Friday (24 November) and the Bulgarian Presidency in January 2018, the EU is at a juncture where it can reverse a very negative trend and breathe new life in its neighbourhood policy, Harry Nedelcu writes.
Enlargement 05-10-2017

EU enlargement: Tear down mental walls in the Balkans

Last week the European Commission dealt another blow to the Western Balkans by promising an accession strategy for Montenegro and Serbia while neglecting the other four Balkan countries, Hashim Thaçi, the president of Kosovo, writes in an exclusive op-ed for EURACTIV.
Climate change 11-07-2017

Western Balkans cannot track climate action without appropriate monitoring

The European Commission has just announced it will drop a mechanism to monitor progress in limiting greenhouse gas emissions in the Western Balkans. The decision will make it difficult to track and manage the climate goals in a region that is highly vulnerable to climate change impacts, warns Dragana Mileusnić.
Enlargement 11-07-2017

EU enlargement: A six percent target for the Western Balkans

If the Western Balkans are to overcome almost three decades of economic stagnation and crisis, they will need to double their annual growth rates. This will need a fundamental rethink of the EU’s enlargement policy, argue Tobias Flessenkemper and Dušan Reljić.
Air Quality 26-06-2017

Western Balkans holds breath for better air quality

In the Western Balkans, air pollution can be a fatal problem, made worse by some of those countries’ energy policies. Ioana Ciuta sheds light on the region’s developing crisis, which is claiming lives at an alarming rate.