Enlargement

Brussels wants Ukraine to follow through on its promised reforms

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Speaking at the Brussels UkraineLab, the Director General of DG NEAR at the European Commission Christian Danielsson said that Brussels expects Ukraine to be both better and more effective at implementing the dozens of...

Name Dispute: Nationality tussles highlight Prespes Agreement flaws

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If there is an area where the June 2018 Prespes Agreement’s legions of detractors and a reasonable number of its mainstream but unenthusiastic supporters find agreement, it’s deal’s treatment of the nationality of the...

Netherlands moving towards full plastic recycling by 2025

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The Netherlands is moving to make producers fully responsible for plastic packaging and manufacturing and giving them a six-year transition period to make all relted products fully recyclable, the news agency NOS reports. The so-called Plastic...

Name Dispute: A time for kudos, awards and arrests

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Now that the ratification procedures for June’s Prespes Agreement between Greece and newly-renamed North Macedonia are complete, the focus has shifted to a wide-ranging and quite possible coordinated effort to build broader support for...

Name Dispute: North Macedonia’s name change takes hold

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Following Greece’s ratification of the NATO Accession Protocol for North Macedonia February 8, over the past week, Europe witnessed a series of implementation steps required by the June 2018 Prespes Agreement that aims to...

Ukraine’s presidential election is the culmination of political processes

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A story has long circulated that in 2005 when Viktor Yushchenko, then the freshly elected president of Ukraine, walked into his presidential office for the first time after winning the long and bitter standoff known...

Athens clears path for North Macedonia’s NATO admission

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NATO’s 29 members and the soon-to-be-renamed Republic of North Macedonia signed the country’s NATO Accession Protocol in Brussels on February 6. Since the Name Dispute with neighbouring Greece is largely resolved at least until...

The future of Georgia’s energy policy

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In 2014, Georgia signed an Association Agreement with the EU to implement the bloc’s policies for sustainable energy development. By signing the Agreement and joining the Energy Community, Georgia took on the obligation to...

Political landscape reshaped after blistering Prespes Agreement ratification battle

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While Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras successfully avoided triggering national elections over the painful ratification battle for June’s Prespes Agreement with the newly renamed country of North Macedonia, the Greek political world is still...

Welcome North Macedonia!

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As most readers will know, the contentious Greek ratification procedure for the Prespes Agreement ended with its passage in a vote January 25, with a margin of just three votes (153/300).  That deal, signed...

Deeply polarised Greece ratifies Prespes Agreement

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Greece completed its rushed and contentious ratification procedure for the Prespes Agreement in a vote delayed to January 25, aiming to resolve the Name Dispute between Greece and its northern neighbour Macedonia/FYROM (now North...

Opinion: Poroshenko’s church politics steers Ukraine further away from Europe

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To save his sagging political fortunes, the man responsible for the failure of Ukrainian reforms, violations of human rights and corruption is putting on a priestly robe. The sins of graft, lawlessness, and authoritarianism are...

EU reiterates support but offers little else to Georgia’s new president

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In an effort to reinforce Georgian government’s claim that it wants to continue with plans to integrate further with the West, the small South Caucasus nation’s president, Salome Zurabishvili, made her first official visit...

Prespes Agreement ratification enters final stretch

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The Greek side’s ratification process for June’s Prespes Agreement which seeks to resolve the Name Dispute between Greece and Macedonia/FYROM is now moving forward with a vote expected by the end of this week,...

Tsipras narrowly wins self-imposed confidence vote

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Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras won the closest of confidence challenges late January 16 with 151 votes in favour and 148 against. Although at times dramatic, both the debate and the vote were far...

Dăncilă criticises delay of Romania’s Schengen accession as Juncker returns to Brussels

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s noticeable absence from a key plenary session in Strasbourg that saw Romania's Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă present the priorities of her country's turn heading the Presidency to the Council of the European...

Tsipras co-opts Independent Greeks in confidence vote, expected to get North Macedonia seal of...

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All the pieces are now in place for a one-two process that will see the Prespes Agreement, which seeks to resolve the Greece-Macedonia/FYROM Name Dispute ratified in very short order, assuming the government survives...

Name Dispute: Western leaders rejoice, Greece melts down

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After a confused post-holiday week marked by conflicting statements and signals from key Greek leaders in the ruling coalition government, political developments in Athens switched back into high gear immediately after the Macedonia/FYROM parliament...

Name Dispute: Prespes ratification issue is front and center

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Like the slowly ticking time bomb it actually represents for the Greek political world, the Prespes Agreement ratification procedure rolls almost inexorably towards completion in Skopje.  The deal signed by Greece and Macedonia/FYROM last...

Inauguration of Georgia’s first woman president is not a sign of progress, but a...

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Despite critical assessments of Georgia’s November 28 runoff presidential election from much of the international community – observers expressed alarm about political violence, intimidation, vote-buying on an “unprecedented” scale, and outright electoral fraud – the victory of...

NATO signs deal with Kyiv to dispose of explosive devices

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The NATO military alliance signed a deal in Brussels with the government of Ukraine to dispose of weapons-grade explosive materials and to implement a de-mining programme aimed at neutralising the thousands of improvised explosive devices that...

Kosovo votes to transform civil defence force into formal military structure

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The Kosovo Parliament voted almost unanimously on December 14 to begin the process of upgrading the country’s existing NATO/KFOR-trained paramilitary force, the Kosovo Security Force (KSF), into a formal military organisation in a process...

Name Dispute: Independent Greeks on the rocks

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The ratification process for the Prespes Agreement, signed by Greece and Macedonia/FYROM last June in attempt to resolve the Name Dispute between them, rolls steadily forward in Skopje.  That country’s parliamentary speaker estimates the...

Europe in disarray

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It was not all that long ago – just a few years, as hard as that it is to believe – that Europe appeared to be the part of the world most closely resembling...

Ukraine wants maximum EU pressure put on Russia after Kerch incident

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Speaking in front of the journalists on December 10, Ukraine’s Foreign Affairs Minister Pavlo Klimkin claimed Brussels had promised to step up its efforts and push Moscow to release the 24 Ukrainian sailors that...

Name Dispute: Flaws in Prespes Agreement fuel new Greek firestorm

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With the Prespes Agreement ratification steamroller moving almost inexorably forward in Macedonia/FYROM, public attention to the issue in Greece has refocused and the subject is once again centre stage in view of approaching elections. ...

NATO’s “Bucharest Spell”

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NATO erred in not immediately granting Georgia and Ukraine a Membership Action Plan in April 2008, according to the former head of the alliance, Anders Fogh Rasmussen. This failure sent the wrong signal to Russian...

Georgia’s fragile democracy teetering on the brink

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Free and fair elections are the benchmark for any country that aspires to be a fully-fledged member of the community of free and democratic nations of the world. This concept is none more true that...

Ukraine marks fifth anniversary of revolution with more questions than answers

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In the half-decade that has passed since the start of Ukraine’s EuroMaidan Revolution, few who were in Kiev during the three-month-long uprising could have imagined the upheavals that the country has had to endure...

Opinion: Western officials betray both their own taxpayers and the Ukrainian people

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There’s a nauseating feeling of déjà vu. Under ex-Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, USAID took part in the preparation of tests for the hiring of Ukrainian judges. USAID insisted back then that the tests were entirely fair...

Hungary grants former Macedonia/FYROM PM Gruevski asylum

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The flight of former Macedonia/FYROM Prime Minister Hungary Nikola Gruevski to Hungary took on wider implications as Budapest reportedly granted Gruevski’s asylum request.   In view of the difficult relationship between Budapest and Brussels, the...

FYROM’s nationalist former prime minister on the run

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By far the most interesting development related to the Name Dispute between Greece and Macedonia/FYROM this week was the departure in stealth mode of former Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski from Skopje and his sudden...

Name Dispute: Work progresses on Prespes Agreement implementation

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With Greece currently distracted by a wide range of political issues and debates, legislators in Skopje are hard at work debating the constitutional amendments proposed by the government of Macedonia/FYROM, as required under the...

Opinion: Europe should stop feeding the dragon of Ukrainian corruption

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A scene in an old Soviet film called To Kill a Dragon sees a knight errant rescue a city from the tyranny of a dragon. The city’s mayor claims victory over the dragon and becomes the next...

Name Dispute: Athens takes a breather

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The political processes in both Greece and Macedonia/FYROM are still adjusting to the surprise victory by Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in the October 19 vote in Skopje where his supporters and allies delivered 80...

Name Dispute: Zaev scores stunning victory from failed referendum

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In a late-night vote October 19th, Macedonia/FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev collected the required 80 yes votes, or a 2/3 majority, to approve the first phase of changes to the country’s constitution, a remarkable...

Getting to an Agreement between Serbia and Kosovo

Kosovo has not been ruled by Serbia for nearly twenty years, yet the status of its sovereignty, as well as the territory and borders of both countries, remain mutually and internationally contested. In the past...