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Western Balkans

This tag is associated with 37 posts

Serbia at risk of authoritarianism?

Among the Western Balkan countries aspiring to EU membership, Serbia is seen as a frontrunner in terms of its democratic institutions, level of economic development and overall readiness for accession. However, in November 2018 opposition politician, Borko Stefanović, was beaten up by thugs, triggering a wave of protests that has spread across the country. Continue reading

Plenary round-up – Brussels, November II 2018

The highlights of the November II plenary session were the debate on the future of Europe with the Prime Minister of Denmark, Lars Løkke Rasmussen, and the discussion on the Council and Commission statements on UK withdrawal from the European Union. Continue reading

Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA III) [EU Legislation in Progress]

On 14 June 2018, the European Commission published a proposal for a regulation establishing the Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA) III as part of a set of external action instruments under the new 2021 to 2027 multiannual financial framework (MFF). Continue reading

The EU and the Western Balkans: Where Next?

On 18 June, EPRS hosted a roundtable discussion on ‘The EU and the Western Balkans: Where Next?’ in the Library of the European Parliament. It took place the day after the prime ministers of Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev respectively, signed a deal on the name issue that could potentially resolve the bilateral dispute that has run for over a quarter of a century. This only highlighted the timeliness of the question, ‘Where next?’, as Etienne Bassot, Director of EPRS’ Members’ Research Service, outlined in his introductory remarks. Continue reading

Western Balkans [What Think Tanks are thinking]

The European Union’s planned enlargement into the Western Balkans has recently drawn increased attention. In February 2018, the European Commission released its new enlargement strategy, giving a credible accession perspective to the region. The latest impetus came last month, when the Commission proposed opening entry talks with Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). Continue reading

Western Balkans: Enlargement strategy 2018

With a resolute tone and a sense of urgency, the European Commission’s new enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans sets a clear direction for the region’s six countries: it offers them a credible enlargement perspective and pledges enhanced EU engagement. It indicates 2025 as a possible enlargement date. Continue reading

Plenary round-up – Strasbourg, February I 2018

Highlights of the session included the second in a series of debates with EU leaders on the future of Europe, with Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković; and the debate and vote on the composition of the European Parliament after Brexit. Continue reading

Western Balkans in the spotlight in 2018

With positive messages and increased attention coming from the EU, 2017 seems to have ended on a high note for the Western Balkans. 2018 starts with the region being high on the agenda of Bulgaria’s EU Council Presidency, and promises a favourable context for advancing its EU bids. For this to happen, however, the six WB countries need to show results on the core EU-related reforms. Continue reading

EU integration process of the Western Balkans [Topical Digest]

The Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia) have developed long-lasting relations with the EU in their efforts to join the Union. Continue reading

EU enlargement, Western Balkans and Turkey [What Think Tanks are thinking]

In his State of the Union speech in September 2017, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker called for keeping a credible European Union membership perspective for Western Balkan countries, while ruling out the possibility of Turkey joining the EU in “the foreseeable future” due to violations to the rule of law and fundamental rights. Continue reading

Youth challenges and opportunities in the Western Balkans

Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are all candidates for EU membership, while Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and Kosovo are potential candidates. To improve their chances of EU accession and secure their citizens a more prosperous future, one of the key priorities these countries need to address are the problems facing their youth, who hold the key to such a future. Continue reading

The Western Balkans and the EU [What Think Tanks are thinking]

Written by Marcin Grajewski, European Union heads of state and government reiterated support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans at their meeting on 9 March, and underlined that the situation in the region was fragile due to internal and external challenges. Despite relatively good economic growth prospects, the Western Balkans’ reform progress has … Continue reading

Outcome of European Council meeting of 9 March 2017 and of informal meeting of the EU27 of 10 March 2017

Written by Suzana Anghel and Ralf Drachenberg, After re-electing Donald Tusk as its President, the European Council meeting of 9 March 2017 discussed the economic situation in Europe, progress on measures regarding migration, internal and external security, and external relations. In his first speech to the European Council, the recently- elected President of the European … Continue reading

Outlook for the 9 March 2017 European Council, and the Informal meeting of the 27 Heads of State or Government on 10 March 2017

Written by Susanna Tenhunen and Ralf Drachenberg, At their 9-10 March 2017 meeting, EU leaders will focus on the economic situation in Europe, including the economic and social priorities of the 2017 European Semester, trade policy and delivery of the different single market strategies. The European Council will also discuss migration, security and defence, and … Continue reading

2016 Enlargement package: Prospects for the Western Balkans

Written by Velina Lilyanova, In November 2016, the European Commission presented its annual enlargement package, consisting of a communication that takes stock of the implementation of the 2015 multiannual strategy and a set of reports on the Western Balkan countries and on Turkey in their capacity of candidates or potential candidates for EU membership. Since 2015, … Continue reading

The EU and Western Balkans [What Think Tanks are Thinking]

This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports on the topic from major international think tanks on EU links with Western Balkans and the political and economic situation of the countries in the region. More publications on the EU enlargement can be found in a previous edition of ‘What Think Tanks are Thinking.’ Continue reading

The Western Balkans and the EU: Enlargement and challenges

The challenges ahead of the EU and the current candidate, and potential candidate, countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia – are multiple and, to some extent, different compared to the past. First, the EU itself is in a different situation. In 2014, the European Commission’s newly elected president announced a five-year halt to enlargement. In June 2016, the UK voted to leave the EU, an event unprecedented in Union history. Continue reading

The Western Balkans’ Berlin process: A new impulse for regional cooperation

Written by Velina Lilyanova, The six Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia – are united by the common goal of joining the EU. However, they still face divisions, both infrastructural and political, and are confronted, among other things, by a dire economic situation … Continue reading

The Western Balkans: Frontline of the migrant crisis

Written by Velina Lilyanova 2015 was a landmark year in the history of migration to Europe, with an unprecedented and constantly increasing flow of migrants making their way to the European Union. Fleeing poverty and war mainly in the Middle East and Africa, more and more people embarked on perilous journeys to reach the safety … Continue reading

Corruption — still a major problem in several Western Balkan countries

Written by Velina Lilyanova The United Nations’ 2003 Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) starts by noting that corruption ‘undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish’. To a varying extent, all … Continue reading

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