Enlargement

Brussels casts Zaev a thin lifeline

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Brussels cast a thin Italian-flavoured political lifeline to North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev over the last ten days, something sorely needed after Zaev had badly managed his public reactions in the period immediately...

Zaev fumbles after EU Enlargement let-down

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North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev fumbled badly this week when discussing the relationship between his country’s now-frozen EU accession bid and the standing legal requirement to fully implement the solution to the Name...

Enlargement is not Eurovision, Zoran

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Enlargement boosters across Europe were stunned by the third failure of the European Council to announce a decision on 18 October on a date for beginning EU accession negotiations for Albania and North Macedonia,...

France unyielding on EU Enlargement, elections triggered in North Macedonia

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The scenario that emerged late last week with multiple reports that France would oppose immediate decisions on EU Enlargement has come to pass. EU European Affairs ministers (General Affairs Council) discussed the Enlargement matter again...

Enlargement Kaput

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As New Europe wisely predicted in recent weeks, neither Albania nor North Macedonia received a date at the EU Summit to launch negotiations for their EU accession. Both countries needed the date, particularly Albania as...

Georgia’s last hope

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It’s hard to imagine now, but Georgia was once an improbable success story. After the Rose Revolution in 2003, the small South Caucasus country made dramatic strides in dismantling the Soviet legacy of corruption...

France defies EU majority on enlargement

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Only days after the leaders of the European Union's main institutions put pressure on the bloc to start accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania by "no later than this month”, France pushed back...

Zaev-Mitsotakis New York meeting – breaking the ice

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The prime ministers of Greece and North Macedonia held their first face-to-face meeting on the sidelines of the 74th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) 24 September, ending a long period since the 7 July...

Tusk makes final push in support of Western Balkans enlargement

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Outgoing European Council President Donald Tusk devoted his time on 16 September to make a final push in support of the EU accession aspirations of both Albania and North Macedonia, both of which remain...

The mother of all hearings

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As soon as the new European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, revealed on 10 September that Hungary’s former Minister of Justice Laszlo Trocsanyi was her proposed Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Policy, alarm...

Russia’s influence in Georgia has grown since the 2008 war

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At exactly the same time that French President Emmanuel Macron was hosting his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, at his summer home in the south of France this week, Russian soldiers were busy building barbed...

Say “No” to a technocratic government

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The EU’s economy has essentially been flat over the past year. The slump in manufacturing is deepening. Companies are cutting work hours and issuing profit warnings. The dominant mood in the European and international...

Bosnia’s authorities draw cautious praise from Brussels after agreeing to form Council of Ministers

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Nearly 10 months after Bosnia and Herzegovina's last round of elections, the leaders of country's three main ethnoreligious groups finally reached an agreement to form a central government on 4 August, news that the...

Ze’s perfect storm

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Volodymyr Zelensky, or “Ze”, as he is called by his supporters, started his entry into the Ukrainian politics earlier this year by impressively winning the presidential election in April. On July 21, the former...

The sky didn’t fall in Ukraine

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What so many Ukrainian voters were afraid of simply did not happen. After being sworn in as president, Volodymyr Zelensky did not attempt to establish closer relations with Russia. Whether he would have liked...

The Name Dispute after the July 7 Greek elections

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The June 2018 Prespes Agreement, which settled the so-called Name Dispute with newly-renamed North Macedonia, Greece’s northern neighbor, was an important but not the leading issue in the Greek parliamentary election campaign, except in...

Europe can help restore Ukraine’s trust after PACE decision

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The recent decision by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe – PACE – to return the Russian delegation to full parliamentary assembly activities sparked an extremely negative reaction from the majority of...

Europe can help Georgia’s protestors preserve the country’s hard-won freedom

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There are not a lot of things in this world that we agree on. Left or Right. For or against immigration. Netflix or the big screen. Still, there are a few that we do...

Making peace with violence and a disinformation machine

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On 24 June, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) reinstalled Russia’s voting rights in the institution charged with upholding human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The rights were suspended...

As enlargement discussions freeze, aspirants twist in the wind

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Discussions in Luxembourg regarding EU enlargement in the Western Balkans made little headway this past week, despite the threat from North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev that he would call elections if a date...

What Putin’s new citizenship initiative would mean for Ukraine

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Since the recent presidential elections ended in a landslide victory for Volodymyr Zelensky some signs of a possible political and economic revival have been noticed in Ukraine. The very electoral victory of the Zelensky...

EU considers freezing Customs Union negotiations with Turkey

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Amid growing concerns about the aggressive offshore drilling activities that are currently being carried out near the Cypriot coast by the Turkish government, the European Union is mulling putting Ankara's accession chapters under discussion ahead of the European Council...

EU sees no decisions yet on Switzerland despite time constraints

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The European Commission may still have on the menu the state of play of the bloc’s relations with Switzerland, however, no decisions should be expected, the Commission's deputy spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud said on Monday. The EU has to...

Where are EU-US relations headed?

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Following US President Donald J. Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom, New Europe’s Federico Grandesso spoke with Stefano Silvestri, Italy’s former Undersecretary for State Defense (1995-1996) and a senior scientific advisor at the Institute...

It’s high time for Plahotniuc to leave the scene

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From time to time the small, poor country of Moldova gets into the news headlines. So it was in 2009 when the parliament and presidency were burned in, up to now, unclear circumstances. Then...

Zelensky must choose battles wisely to avoid a political Mexican Standoff

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One evening in the hot summer of 2015 anyone who was someone in the political circles in Kyiv gathered at the residence of Simon Smith, the UK ambassador, as he was moving to his...

Enlargement, going back to square one

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North Macedonia and Albania are inexorably tied by the delay in their long course to join Europe, yet for different reasons. Albania has the perpetual problem of narcotics production that cannot be overcome unless Tirana...

Zaev hints at early elections

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Prime Minister Zoran Zaev of North Macedonia hinted on 5 June, and again the next day, that he would consider calling early elections if the European Union does not provide the country with a...

EU Commission recommends opening accession talks for Albania and North Macedonia

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The European Commission recommends the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in its annual reports of Western Balkan states. According to both the High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini and the European Commissioner...

Zelensky restores Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship

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Just over a week after being inaugurated as Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky issued an executive order on Tuesday that overturned a July 2017 decree by his successor, Petro Poroshenko, that illegally stripped Georgia’s ex-president Mikheil Saakashvili...

The challenge of being an ambassador to Ukraine

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Among the biggest challenges for foreign diplomats is an election year in Ukraine. The unpredictability that never wanes, even after the results are in, offers very fertile ground for developing professional skills of the...

Albania and European border agency begin first joint operations

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Teams of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, which was formerly known as Frontex, are joining forces with Albania's police to patrol the Balkan nation's land and sea borders in the agency's first-ever joint...

German liberal party’s peace proposal for Ukraine looks for new path forward

According to the 2018 Global Peace Index (GPI), which measures the relative position of nations' peacefulness, Ukraine is the lowest-ranked European country. The GPI ranks it as 152 out of 163 independent states, followed by Syria,...

North Macedonia’s presidential election results calm West’s worries

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North Macedonia’s presidential runoff election on 5 May produced results guaranteed to calm fraying nerves in Athens, Washington, Brussels, Paris, and Berlin as the country’s new president will be Stevo Pendarovski, who was backed...

All the world is a stage and Zelensky has yet to play his biggest...

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Actors have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts. Volodymyr Zelensky, a professional actor, was propelled into the Ukrainian presidency winning 73% of the votes. During his campaign, he...

North Macedonia’s presidential election heading to a runoff

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North Macedonia's April 21 presidential elections had a record low turnout. Only 755,816 votes were recorded, (yielding a 41.85% turnout) of a total 1,808,131 registered voters.  As expected, a runoff election will be held...

Name Dispute chills North Macedonia’s presidential election

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What would normally be an inconsequential election for the largely ceremonial post of president in North Macedonia has crystallised into an unofficial referendum on the June 2018 Prespes Agreement which settled, at least on...