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.

Two Russian comedians prank North Macedonia’s PM Zaev

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje July 10, 2019

Russian pranksters Vladimir "Vovan" Kuznetsov and Alexei "Lexus" Stolyarov called North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev pretending to be ex-Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko.

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.

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.

First Gay Pride march held in North Macedonia

bne IntelliNews June 30, 2019

North Macedonia held its first Gay Pride march on June 29 with several hundred gay men, lesbians and human rights activists participating in the event.

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.

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.

Fitch gives North Macedonia first rating upgrade in 13 years

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje June 16, 2019

Rating agency praised improved governance standards and reforms, saying this provides greater reassurance that North Macedonia “will not revert to the political paralysis of 2014-2017.”