Saturday, May 18, 2024

Albania

North Macedonia: Sliding back towards the political dark side?

As most analysts predicted after the strong showing of the nationalist presidential candidate in the first-round presidential elections on April 24, VMRO-DPMNE (Internal Macedonian...

The empty seat in Strasbourg

 When the newly elected European Parliament convenes this year on July 16 there will be an empty seat in the plenary hall within the...

Playing politics with EU veto power – a very old game

In late November, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, standing alongside visiting Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, told the media that he was against the “bilateralization”...

The Beleri case as bellwether for democracy in Albania

The standard definition of a political prisoner is: “One imprisoned for their political activity. The political offense is not always the official reason for...

Iranians hold rallies to protest police raid on opposition’s Albania-based HQ

Protests were held outside Albanian embassies and consulates in at least ten cities on June 20th and 21st following a raid by police on...

EU Tirana Summit: Enlargement must go on

The summit's generic one size fits all “membership perspective” statement was seen as good news by most after the topic of EU Enlargement had become a highly controversial subject.

Unexpected migration woes

Brussels has, in the case of the migrant problem, proven that the EU's feckless bureaucrats are persuasive only when they carry a big stick against those that openly mock them.

Scholz’s Berlin Process Summit yields agreements, draws yawns

The November 3 Berlin Process Summit, held in the presence of six Western Balkan leaders and key EU luminaries in the context of the...

After Macron victory, Enlargement diplomacy back on the radar

With the war in Ukraine and the noise surrounding the French presidential elections, the subject of EU Enlargement into the Western Balkans had almost...

TAP pipeline transports first 10 bcm of Azeri natural gas to Europe

The Trans Adriatic Pipeline AG has announced that a total of 10 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas from Azerbaijan has now entered...

The Budapest-Vilnius segment and the Kyiv-Tirana-Pristina triangle

28 years ago in Budapest, I participated as a member of the Albanian delegation at the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE)....

Beyond the recent skirmishes, what is the real democracy challenge in Albania?

Images of violence in and around the headquarters of the opposition Democratic Party (DP) of Albania were to be seen on January 8 and...

Mitsotakis lightning Bulgaria visit has regional focus

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis visited Sofia December 20, opening contacts with the new Bulgarian government through meetings with newly elected Bulgarian PM Kiril...

Conflict in Ukraine and Kosovo are connected

Vladimir Putin claims that protecting ethnic Russians justifies military action against Ukraine. Putin’s concern for Ukraine’s Russian minority is bombastic. His greater global goal...

Amateur hour for US diplomacy in Albania

On December 11, Sali Berisha, a two-term Prime Minister and President of Albania, was addressing some ten thousand jubilant Democratic Party congress participants in...

Fluid dynamics: Turmoil in Skopje after Zaev ally defects

Late on November 5, the political situation in North Macedonia took a new twist as the main opposition party claimed it had pulled together...

Three major challenges in the Albanian parliament, especially for the opposition

The three major challenges at the beginning of Albania's current parliamentary legislature include the review of the municipal territorial division and the structure of...

Greece again agrees to expand US defense cooperation

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias traveled to Washington October 13-14 to participate in a scheduled session of the US-Greece Strategic Dialogue, where he met...

Integration or isolation for the EU?

Last week, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visited Albania and other Western Balkan countries. Her main political message was that the future...

Enlargement: EU’s turgid Brdo Declaration seen as a “fail”

The two EU candidate countries hoping for a major jump-start to their long-delayed EU accession procedures suffered a major setback on October 6 at...

Kosovo-Serbia tensions fading after deal reached

The slow-motion crisis between Kosovo and Serbia over automobile license plates that began with little notice on September 20 escalated into a tense show...

US Balkan allies to host Afghan refugee processing operations

Even before the Taliban had completed its occupation of Kabul, American allies Albania and Kosovo told Washington that they would serve as transit countries...

Bulgaria begins slide toward new elections

The Bulgarian political world was shocked into action on August 10 when the party that won the country’s July 11 elections, There is Such...

Making sense of the Italy-UAE rift

Earlier this month the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ordered the withdrawal of all Italian aircraft and personnel from its Al Minhad Air Force Base...

When the “New Middle East” meets the “New Europe”

Middle Eastern experts have commented widely on the “new” foreign policy of the United Arab Emirates. Many of these same commentators have gone so...

EU supports green energy efficiency in Kosovo

More homeowners in Kosovo will be able to improve the energy efficiency of their households thanks to a new €2 million credit line extended...

Balkan rumblings: Setbacks on enlargement and new Prespes violations

Against the backdrop of another EU presidency (Portugal) failing to move ahead this month on the Enlargement issue as well as a generally slow...

EU enlargement: Cui bono?

EU enlargement: cui bono? Several Foreign Ministers from EU countries visited Tirana and the North Macedonian capital Skopje in the last weeks to meet local...

Washington gets tough on “destabilizers” in the Western Balkans

On June 8, President Joe Biden issued an Executive Order (EO) intended to update US sanctions policy regarding Balkan corruption and political destabilization activities,...

Washington zeroes in on corrupt Bulgarian officials

On June 2, the US Department of State announced the designation of four former Bulgarian public officials as well as one current official for involvement...

An appeal against violence and a pledge for respect

Nine months ago, Samuel Paty, a high school teacher in Paris, used profane caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class to illustrate to his...

Is EU Enlargement on hold yet again?

As Portugal’s EU presidency is reaching its final month, additional pressure is expected on Bulgaria to press it to resolve its ongoing dispute with...

Washington designates corrupt former Albanian officials

On May 19, the US Department of State announced the designation of former Albanian Prime Minister Sali Berisha and his family members for involvement...

Why is the Rama government going soft on Hamas?

To date, the violations of the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) debated in Tirana and Brussels were related to business issues. The SAA, the...

Ukraine’s chances to join NATO are slim to none, despite Zelensky’s claims

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict was once again back in the headlines in April when people across the world followed massive troop build-ups in and around...

Mid-East turmoil eclipses Greece’s latest Balkan initiatives

Greek officials found time to engage in several rounds of Balkan diplomacy this week, once again taking advantage of the presence in Greece of...

COVID-19 vaccine supplies trickle into Southeast Europe

In line with global trends, deliveries of COVID-19 vaccine supplies to Southeast Europe increased in April, but the record to-date shows it was anything...

Learning from past mistakes and moving ahead in the wake of the Albanian elections

In the first days of this week after the election results were announced, I conducted a computer exercise, dividing the result of each subject...

Slovenia provokes with non-paper supporting Balkan partitions

A non-paper purported to be of Slovenian authorship has drawn increasing attention over the last weeks that it has been circulating because it appears...

Southeast Europe begins to tackle COVID-19 immunization delays

In terms of Covid-19 vaccinations, the gap between Europe’s haves and have nots finally appears to be narrowing, after many months where much of...

Dialogue for mutual recognition will succeed when the EU joins the US in its Kosovo approach

After the snap parliamentary elections of February 14, Kosovo has a new government facing the EU's facilitated dialogue with Serbia for normalization of relations...

The process or the result: The need to revisit the Western Balkans’ EU integration process.

During the 2005 general election campaign, a senior opposition figure stated that in the event of his party winning, Albania would join the European...

Serbia becomes regional vaccination hub

Thousands of people from neighboring countries flocked to Serbia over the past couple of weekends to get their vaccine shots as Belgrade dispensed free...

EU supports tender in Albania for 100 MW solar project

The French renewables company Voltalia has won the contract for the construction and operation of a 100 MW solar plant in Albania following its...

Serbia donates vaccines and spreads goodwill in the region

Over the past few weeks, Serbia has donated thousands of much-needed batches of vaccines to the countries, spreading goodwill as well as a sense...

Serbia leading Southeast Europe in COVID-19 immunizations

According to the most recent data, Serbia’s COVID-19 vaccination program, initially using a Chinese vaccine and symbolic quantities from third country suppliers, now leads...

An advocacy for giving precedence to the EU’s Copenhagen Criteria in the Western Balkans

Among the precious little remaining friends of a quick EU enlargement towards the Western Balkans, the threat of non-friendly powers encroaching in the region...

Karl von Habsburg: Speech on the future of Europe

The following speech was given on January 11 to honor the 60th birthday of Karl von Habsburg, the head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine...

Twitter banned me, too

It’s been two weeks since my Twitter account was blocked by Twitter itself. Perhaps it is of interest to explain how it exactly happened....

The EU-China investment agreement is a disaster for the West

The EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement that was announced in December 2020 at joint virtual press conference between Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel, Xi...

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