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New US actions against corruption and Russian malign influence in the Western Balkans

On November 16, the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, known by its acronym OFAC, designated eight individuals and six...

Latest gambit in North Macedonia seeks to break impasse with Bulgaria

At the end of July, the largest ethnic Albanian political party in North Macedonia, the Democratic Union for Integration, presented an innovative proposal to...

Boomerang! Greek socialists’ election jiggering backfires

Even though the Greek left-socialist party Syriza massively reconfigured the electoral system in 2016 to favor their long-term return plans before being ousted by...

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.

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...

Sofia and Skopje begin joint effort to resolve conflict

Hoping to generate enough material to prevent Sofia’s cadre of Balkan reporters from decamping to nearby ski resorts, the governments of North Macedonia and...

Petkov’s underwhelming Skopje visit opens a door

Bulgaria’s new Prime Minister Kiril Petkov visited Skopje January 18, after completing a bit more than a month in his new job. The only...

Bulgaria’s new government maintains Enlargement veto

While Bulgaria’s November 14 elections managed to break the political logjam that had paralyzed the country for most of 2021, which required three consecutive...

Tales of mystery and imagination in Skopje – Part 2

North Macedonia’s conservative opposition failed in its November 11 bid to topple Prime Minister Zoran Zaev’s government. This happened only because ruling coalition lawmakers...

Third Bulgarian election in 2021 appears to break the logjam

In Bulgaria’s November 14 elections, the tough anti-corruption oriented “We Continue the Change” party (PP), won 25.7% of the vote, based on a nearly-complete...

Tales of mystery and imagination in Skopje

The November 11 no-confidence vote in Zoran Zaev's government was stopped after an extremely difficult day for lack of a quorum. Extraordinary events during...

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...

Following election flop, Zaev announces resignation plans

North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev announced his planned resignation on November 1 after his social-democratic party massively lost the second round of municipal...

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...

Athens rocked by Biden’s nomination of political operative

After an extended period of uncertainty over who would be tapped, on October 8 US President Joe Biden announced his intention to nominate influential...

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...

Greek Foreign Minister Dendias chasing shadows in Skopje?

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias traveled to North Macedonia August 31, for a hastily scheduled official visit to the country while his own capital...

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...

How can Ukraine vanquish Russia on the theocracy chessboard?

Granting Autocephaly to the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in 2019 not only had a strong impact on Ukrainian society's rethinking of traditional religious symbols -...

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...

EU backs financing for greener homes and businesses in North Macedonia

In order to boost investments in high-performance green technologies, materials and solutions in privately owned residential dwellings and buildings in North Macedonia, the European...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Skopje to introduce first Bus Rapid Transit system to cut air pollution with EU help

Skopje, one of the most polluted cities in Europe, will become the first city in the Western Balkans to introduce a Bus Rapid Transit...

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...

Blinken reaffirms America’s focus on rebuilding partnerships

During his March 22-25 trip to Brussels, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken emphasized repeatedly that the Biden administration will work to rebuild America’s...

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...

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...

Montenegro’s parliament passes crucial religion law, but who’s really in charge?

The Montenegrin parliament, in a repeat vote, passed on January 20 a crucial Law on Religious Freedoms which President Milo Djukanovic refused to sign...

Out in the cold: SE Europe in dire need of vaccine supplies

With the COVID-19 pandemic steadily worsening across much of Europe, the citizens of the continent’s Southeast European region have been left out of much...

Could Albania begin EU Enlargement talks soon?

While no decisions on EU Enlargement emerged from the European Council and Euro Summit meetings of December 10-11, the issue blocking further progress pertains...

Has Enlargement slipped off the radar?

The European Council and Euro Summit meetings of December 10-11 concluded without reference to the subject of EU Enlargement since the earlier General Affairs...

The Bulgarian hammer comes down

Firmly refusing to approve the negotiating framework for the “Intergovernmental Conference” required to launch North Macedonia’s EU accession process, Bulgaria’s Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva...

Bulgaria and North Macedonia continue tussle over language

While EU Enlargement was supposed to be the primary focus in the region for the final months of 2020, a long-simmering controversy with Bulgaria...

Varhelyi refocuses on enlargement for Southeast Europe

EU Commissioner for Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi visited North Macedonia and Albania on October 6-7, meeting leaders in both countries as well as addressing parliaments....

Pompeo's Greece visit underlines Turkey’s isolation

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Greece on September 28-30 with the objective of making it clear to Turkey that the Trump Administration...

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