Enlargement

Name Dispute talks hanging in the balance

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Ever since the May 28 Brussels announcement that the foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia/FYROM had finished their work and had delivered their proposals to their respective prime ministers, the world has held its...

Turkey’s once-beleaguered opposition showing signs of life in countdown to June 24 poll

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After 15 years in power, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will face his greatest political challenge to date. Following a controversial referendum last year, Turkey will elect an executive president for the first time....

NATO planes begin patrolling Montenegro’s skies

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Prior to formally breaking with its traditional ally Serbia in 2006, the armed forces of the tiny Western Balkan nation of Montenegro hadn’t existed since their abolition following the end of the First World...

Syria joins ally Russia in recognising independence of Georgia’s breakaway regions

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For the better part of three thousand years, the area around the Black Sea has been a crossroads of both the Orient and the Occident. It’s position as a water-based highway between the Near...

Name Dispute talks progress as foreign ministers produce a draft agreement

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After meeting in Brussels on May 28, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias and Macedonia/FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov announced they had completed work on the draft bilateral agreements under negotiation to resolve the Name...

Poroshenko officially ends Ukraine’s membership in CIS

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With his popularity plummeting to an all-time low and his nation still locked in a protracted war against neighbouring Russia and its separatist proxies in the country’s east, Ukraine’s Petro Poroshenko has signed a...

Name Dispute negotiations: Doing a new tango ahead of the summer summits

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Negotiations over the Greece/Macedonia/FYROM Name Dispute resumed in New York on May 24-25 following consultations in Washington by Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias earlier in the week. The “Republic of Ilinden Macedonia” proposal that...

Name Dispute negotiations: Zaev’s “Ilinden Gambit” melts down in Athens and Skopje

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Within 24 hours of the end of bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia late last week, a new potential name -- the Republic of Ilinden Macedonia -- proposed...

Name Dispute negotiations: Late nights, roadmaps, and summer summits

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The outcome of the bilateral meeting in Sofia May 17 between Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and Macedonia/FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev disappointed the few that held out hopes that the meeting itself would...

At summit on Western Balkans, EU tries not to antagonise its own members

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On Thursday, the EU will hold out, at a special summit, the prospect of membership to six western Balkan countries as early as 2025 as it seeks to breathe new life into the enlargement of...

Name Dispute negotiations: Getting closer, but is this just a matter of sequencing...

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While the negotiations over the Greece-Macedonia/FYROM Name Dispute returned to a faster track after the visit of UN Mediator Matthew Nimetz to Athens May 12-13, it remains unclear whether significant progress can be expected...

Name Dispute talks focus on opportunities at upcoming EU-Western Balkans Summit

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With the window for a potential agreement before the upcoming EU and NATO Summits in June and July nearly closed, efforts to reach agreement on the Name Dispute between Greece and Macedonia/FYROM are continuing...

We can still make it!

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After more than two months of wrangling, Italy finally has the government that it should have had in the first place -. a coalition of M5S (5-Star Movement) and LEGA (League), the anti-establishment forces...

Name Dispute negotiations slowly drop off the “fast track”

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With the Name Dispute negotiations off the front burner in Athens, both countries involved in the negotiations (Greece and FYROM/Macedonia) focused on other important issues this week but simultaneously prepared themselves for two new...

EU pushes Moldova to step up fight against corruption

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The fight against corruption, reforms in the electoral system, and the development of economic cooperation were at the centre of the 4th EU-Moldova Association in Brussels on May 3. While praising the recent steps taken...

Amnesty International says Turkey has become ‘a dungeon for journalists’

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With the international community celebrating World Press Freedom Day on May 3, journalists and human rights activists around the world used the occasion to speak out about the climate of fear in Turkey since a failed...

Q&A with Serj Tankian on Armenia’s Velvet Revolution

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Over the course of a fortnight, thousands of Armenian opposition activists - thought of as marginalised and irrelevant by most of the international community only a month ago - managed to oust its corrupt...

Little progress on Name Dispute after “remedial diplomacy” session called by Matthew Nimetz

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Filling a rare week when no bilateral meetings on the Greece-Macedonia/FYROM Name Dispute were scheduled, UN Mediator Matthew Nimetz organised a special meeting in Vienna April 25 to try to re-energise the increasingly bogged-down...

Tusk gives Western Balkans countries hopes of EU membership

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European Council President Donald Tusk, who is on a tour of the Western Balkans countries, said Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, FYROM and Montenegro are all candidates to join the EU, even as the region remains badly...

Amnesty says Turkish gov suffocating civil society through deliberate climate of fear

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A new report by Amnesty International says Turkey is using the permanent state of emergency to shrink the opposition and silence criticism in the media. The report, Weathering the storm: Defending human rights in Turkey’s climate...

Erdogan’s snap elections will give him unprecedented power

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has spent nearly a decade trying to destroy the image he once championed, that of a democratic reformer who wanted closer ties to Europe and who vowed to end Turkey’s post-World...

Athens considers plans for July 2018 Macedonia/FYROM NATO accession unworkable

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Announcing his assessment that more time is needed to complete Greece-Macedonia/FYROM Name Dispute negotiations, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias told an Athens radio station April 18 that the possibility of implementing any deal before...

EU Commission to recommend accession negotiations with Albania and FYROM

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The European Commission will likely recommend opening accession negotiations for two Balkan, ex-Communist countries, Albania and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The current government in FYROM's capital Skopje agreed with its southern neighbour Greece...

Limited progress reported on Name Dispute at Ohrid meeting

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With only three months to go before a critical NATO summit in Bucharest that could potentially approve the admission of new members, the foreign ministers of Greece and Macedonia/FYROM continued to press for resolution...

Not quite a week off on the Greece-Macedonia/FYROM Name Dispute

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Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias spent much of the Greek Orthodox “Holy Week” briefing Greek political parties on the state of the Greece-Macedonia Name Dispute negotiations, surprisingly without generating massive headlines. In most cases,...

Negotiations on Greece-Macedonia/FYROM Name Dispute advance in Vienna

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Despite intense ongoing diplomatic sparring with Turkey on Greece’s Aegean front, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias was able to keep his March 29-30 Vienna appointments with Macedonia/FYROM Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov and UN Mediator...

EU auditors to inspect refugee facility in Turkey

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With reports streaming in of the Turks’ growing intolerance towards Syrian refugees, the European Court of Auditors is looking into Ankara’s mismanagement of a facility for that was set up for refugees in Turkey. The facility, established...

EU, US call for ‘calm, wisdom’ after police violence in North Kosovo

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Tensions have again flared up between Serbia and Kosovo, prompting the chief of EU’s diplomacy to intervene by calling both sides to show "calm, wisdom, restraint, and leadership”. Mogherini made her remarks after an urgent meeting...

Erdogan says EU membership remains the goal

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Tukey continues still hopes to one day join the European Union, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a summit with EU leaders in Bulgaria's Black Sea coastal city of Varna. Turkey first gained EU candidate status...

EU-Turkey summit ends with Erdogan failing to address concerns

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Despite pressure from European Union leaders, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan offered no answers to a long list of concerns from Brussels over Turkey’s intervention in Syria and the jailing of dozens of journalists at...

Future of Europe in focus at 2018 ACRE Summit

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The Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe (ACRE) gathered at Brussels' Steigenberger Wiltcher’s Hotel on March 22 to take part in a landmark summit aimed at mapping out the road ahead as Europe...

US deepens engagement on Europe’s southern flank

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Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Wess Mitchell continued his weeklong trip through Southeastern Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean visiting Belgrade March 14, Athens March 15, and Nicosia March 16 after...

EU financial assistance for Turkey had only limited effect, say Auditors

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EU financial assistance for Turkey, which aims to help align the country with EU laws and standards, has had only a limited effect, according to a new report from the European Court of Auditors. For...

Stiffening Europe’s southern flank: Washington moves to reassert itself in the Western Balkans

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After a period of relative diplomatic quiescence, a senior policy-level official from the Trump Administration began a weeklong trip through Southeast Europe and the Eastern Mediterranean region on March 12. Life is a matter of...

Mogherini tells Ukraine to do more to fight endemic corruption

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During a visit to the Ukrainian capital Kiev on Monday the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini issued a stern warning to her hosts as she urged Ukrainian authorities to step...

Leaders of Serbia, Croatia and BiH hold talks in Mostar

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The political leaders of three key Western Balkans nations Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) held their first meeting in six years in the Bosnian city of Mostar on March 6 to discuss...

Juncker wraps up Balkan tour

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European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker wrapped up his tour of six Balkan countries in Sofia, Bulgaria on March 1 by urging the leaders of the nations he visited to speed up the pace of...