BALKAN BLOG: Balkan divisions on display at bad-tempered Sarajevo summit

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow July 10, 2019

The brawl at Sarajevo airport between Bosnian border guards and Turkish President Erdogan’s security was the only time things turned physical, but it came on top of a whole series of acrimonious verbal clashes between Southeast European politicians.

Opposition mayors in Albania refuse to hand over mandates

bne IntelliNews July 7, 2019

The refusal by opposition mayors to leave their posts escalates the crisis sparked by President Ilir Meta’s decision to cancel the June 30 local election that was ignored by the government which went ahead with the vote.

EU takes measures to strengthen links with Western Balkans

Valentina Dimitriveska in Skopje July 5, 2019

€180mn of funding proposed at Poznan summit, shortly after the European Council deferred its decision on the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

Rainbow flag flies over CEE, but attitudes to LGBT vary vastly

Ben Aris in Berlin July 4, 2019

North Macedonia held its first ever gay pride march on June 29 with up to 1,000 people attending the event. There were pride marches in nearly all the CEE countries but the experience in each country is vastly different.

TANAP pipeline comes online, a major piece in Europe’s energy puzzle

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow July 3, 2019

Completion of the TANAP pipeline brings completion of the Southern Gas Corridor that will diversify Europe’s gas supplies away from Russia closer to reality — at a time when Russia is building its own new pipeline infrastructure.

COMMENT: Albania and North Macedonia's EU bids stymied by French political machinations

Ben Aris in Berlin July 1, 2019

The bids from Albania and Northern Macedonia have been bogged down by France, which is using the desire of some EU members to let the two small countries in as a bargaining chip in the hope of screwing concessions for its own agenda, says OSW.

OPINION: The 29th state

Hugo F. H. Stride in Tirana June 28, 2019

As Tirana burns, Junker’s vision of a 29th European state in the Western Balkans smoulders.

Kosovo threatens new measures against CEFTA members if trade barriers are not removed

bne IntelliNews June 27, 2019

Threat of wider Balkan trade war as trade minister says reciprocal measure will be taken against CEFTA states that impose barriers against Kosovan imports.

Albania’s top election body decides local vote will go ahead

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje June 24, 2019

Electoral College weighs in on constitutional crisis after Albania's President Ilir Meta cancelled the local election, while Prime Minister Edi Rama insists it will go ahead.

BALKAN BLOG: Accession delays put EU’s credibility in the Western Balkans on the line

Clare Nuttall in Glasgow June 19, 2019

A failure by the EU to reward reforms in Albania and North Macedonia risks undermining the bloc’s ability to influence policy in the Western Balkans.

European Council delays decision on EU accession talks with Albania, North Macedonia until October

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje June 18, 2019

Council praised North Macedonia for its historic Prespa Agreement that resolved the long-standing name issue with Greece, but mentioned nothing about Albania.

EU enlargement debate: Waiting for a differentiated “North Macedonia breakthrough”

Gunter Deuber of Raiffeisen Research in Vienna June 18, 2019

A move away from the “package solution” of a simultaneous start to accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia is needed. North Macedonia is the less politically controversial candidate and is in a better position economically.

Albanian prosecutors file criminal charges against opposition leader Basha

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje June 16, 2019

Opposition says case concerning $675,000 of funding for the Democratic Party ahead of the 2017 general election is intended to distract from the political crisis in Albania.