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Peace and Security in 2018: An evaluation of EU peacebuilding in the Western Balkans

22-05-2018

This first thematic study of the Peace and Security series focuses on European Union (EU) peacebuilding efforts in the Western Balkans. The series will make an annual evaluation of EU performance in the field of peace and security in a specific geographical region. Examining EU engagement in the Western Balkans, the study assesses the extent to which the Union has been able to transform and strengthen the region's governance, economy and resilience. The study is organised around three key inter-connected ...

This first thematic study of the Peace and Security series focuses on European Union (EU) peacebuilding efforts in the Western Balkans. The series will make an annual evaluation of EU performance in the field of peace and security in a specific geographical region. Examining EU engagement in the Western Balkans, the study assesses the extent to which the Union has been able to transform and strengthen the region's governance, economy and resilience. The study is organised around three key inter-connected (and at times overlapping) phases in EU post-conflict peacebuilding − stabilisation, state-building and EU enlargement − to explain the strengths, weaknesses and limits of EU engagement. It ends with an assessment of the new EU strategy for the Western Balkans and analyses the potential to remedy past deficiencies and help move the region towards genuine, inclusive and sustainable peace. A parallel study, published separately, provides an overview of current EU action on peace and security and of the outlook for the future. The studies have been drafted with a view to their presentation at the Normandy World Peace Forum, in June 2018.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Economic indicators and trade with EU

30-04-2018

The first EU-Western Balkans Summit in a decade and a half takes place in Sofia in May 2018, under the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council. That is just one indicator of the EU's renewed engagement with the six countries of the region, with the Commission's February 2018 enlargement strategy reaffirming their perspective of joining the Union. This infographic, one of a series produced by EPRS in cooperation with Globalstat, offers an overview of the main economic and trade data – in particular on ...

The first EU-Western Balkans Summit in a decade and a half takes place in Sofia in May 2018, under the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council. That is just one indicator of the EU's renewed engagement with the six countries of the region, with the Commission's February 2018 enlargement strategy reaffirming their perspective of joining the Union. This infographic, one of a series produced by EPRS in cooperation with Globalstat, offers an overview of the main economic and trade data – in particular on trade with the EU – of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as information on EU grants and loans to the country.

The United States and the Western Balkans

17-11-2017

The United States has contributed greatly to the post-war reconstruction of the Western Balkans and remains a key player. While the region is not as high on the US foreign policy agenda as in the 1990s, the USA has consistently shown commitment to its Euro-Atlantic integration. US engagement is seen as crucial in this historically volatile region, weakened by unresolved past and emerging challenges.

The United States has contributed greatly to the post-war reconstruction of the Western Balkans and remains a key player. While the region is not as high on the US foreign policy agenda as in the 1990s, the USA has consistently shown commitment to its Euro-Atlantic integration. US engagement is seen as crucial in this historically volatile region, weakened by unresolved past and emerging challenges.

Saudi Arabia in the Western Balkans

17-11-2017

The Gulf States, along with other external players, have raised their profile in the Western Balkans in recent years. While most have set out on an economic quest, Saudi Arabia is considered to have a more ideological approach, seeking a strong role among the region's Muslims. In the 1990s Bosnian war, it provided significant aid for the Muslim cause and has stayed in the region to expand its influence, introducing stricter interpretations of Islam that are gradually taking root there.

The Gulf States, along with other external players, have raised their profile in the Western Balkans in recent years. While most have set out on an economic quest, Saudi Arabia is considered to have a more ideological approach, seeking a strong role among the region's Muslims. In the 1990s Bosnian war, it provided significant aid for the Muslim cause and has stayed in the region to expand its influence, introducing stricter interpretations of Islam that are gradually taking root there.

Turkey's influence in the Western Balkans

06-07-2017

During the Cold War, Turkey's interest in the Western Balkans remained relatively dormant, yet the wars that accompanied the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and the active diplomacy pursued by the Turkish AK political party from 2002 onwards triggered greater Turkish involvement in the region. Nevertheless, Turkey's influence in the Western Balkans remains mainly based on cultural and educational programmes offered to those countries with a large Muslim community and steadily developing ...

During the Cold War, Turkey's interest in the Western Balkans remained relatively dormant, yet the wars that accompanied the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and the active diplomacy pursued by the Turkish AK political party from 2002 onwards triggered greater Turkish involvement in the region. Nevertheless, Turkey's influence in the Western Balkans remains mainly based on cultural and educational programmes offered to those countries with a large Muslim community and steadily developing trade.

Media freedom trends 2017: Western Balkans

03-05-2017

Media freedom, a core EU value and a cornerstone of democracy, is a priority reform area in the Western Balkans' EU accession agenda. Yet, despite a certain level of preparedness and a broadly developed legal framework, aspirant countries keep facing systemic shortcomings that require long-term sustained efforts. These efforts have stalled in recent years, resulting in a 'no progress' situation.

Media freedom, a core EU value and a cornerstone of democracy, is a priority reform area in the Western Balkans' EU accession agenda. Yet, despite a certain level of preparedness and a broadly developed legal framework, aspirant countries keep facing systemic shortcomings that require long-term sustained efforts. These efforts have stalled in recent years, resulting in a 'no progress' situation.

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Developments in 2016

07-02-2017

In 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina completed several formal requirements necessary for obtaining EU candidate status. However, other developments exposed the country's ongoing political and ethnic rifts, and the need for thorough reforms and enhanced cooperation among all levels of government.

In 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina completed several formal requirements necessary for obtaining EU candidate status. However, other developments exposed the country's ongoing political and ethnic rifts, and the need for thorough reforms and enhanced cooperation among all levels of government.

2016 Enlargement package: Prospects for the Western Balkans

30-01-2017

In November 2016, the European Commission presented its annual enlargement package, consisting of a communication that takes stock of the implementation of the 2015 multiannual strategy and a set of reports on the Western Balkan countries and on Turkey in their capacity of candidates or potential candidates for EU membership. Since 2015, the Commission has been applying a new reporting methodology aimed at enhanced transparency and comparability among the aspirant countries. In 2016, it shifted the ...

In November 2016, the European Commission presented its annual enlargement package, consisting of a communication that takes stock of the implementation of the 2015 multiannual strategy and a set of reports on the Western Balkan countries and on Turkey in their capacity of candidates or potential candidates for EU membership. Since 2015, the Commission has been applying a new reporting methodology aimed at enhanced transparency and comparability among the aspirant countries. In 2016, it shifted the timeframe for publishing the next enlargement package from the autumn of 2017 to the spring of 2018, to better align it with the release of the economic reform programmes and the increased focus on economic governance. In 2016, the Commission continued prioritising complex and long-term reforms as part of its 'fundamentals first' approach. Its main message was that enlargement policy continued to deliver results and promote reforms, albeit slowly and unevenly. The EU's reconfirmed commitment to the Western Balkan countries' accession processes was duly reflected in the Slovak Presidency programme, which stressed the importance of enlargement policy for the EU's own political and economic stability. Amidst a host of increasing complexities and declining public support, concerns have been raised that enlargement policy might be side-lined. Thus, while the EU needs to keep up momentum, a significant part of the responsibility rests with the countries themselves. The region needs political will to keep reforms on the agenda and deliver results. In this context, regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations are once again brought to the fore as an indispensable means of re-energising common reform priorities and maximising the benefits for the region.

The EU and Western Balkans [What Think Tanks are Thinking]

26-09-2016

The European Union has given countries of the Western Balkans the perspective of membership and offers financial and political incentives for reform. From the region, only Croatia has so far joined the EU, in 2013. Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania are official candidate countries. Entry negotiations have started with Montenegro and Serbia, in 2012 and 2015 respectively. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are potential candidate countries. The European Commission ...

The European Union has given countries of the Western Balkans the perspective of membership and offers financial and political incentives for reform. From the region, only Croatia has so far joined the EU, in 2013. Montenegro, Serbia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania are official candidate countries. Entry negotiations have started with Montenegro and Serbia, in 2012 and 2015 respectively. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are potential candidate countries. The European Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker, has said he does not expect any country to join the EU during his term in office, which ends in 2019, as many analysts and politicians believe the Union must overcome its internal problems before expanding further. The EU also wants to give the countries time for progress in their reforms, related to the 1993 'Copenhagen' membership criteria, which would make their political and economic systems compatible with EU standards. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports on the topic from major international think tanks on EU links with the Western Balkans, and the political and economic situation of the countries in the region. More publications on EU enlargement can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are Thinking.'

Media freedom in the Western Balkans: state of play

04-05-2016

Media freedom is one indicator of a country's commitment to democracy, good governance and political accountability, and thus its readiness for EU membership. As such, it represents a key element in any aspiring country's EU enlargement agenda, along with other fundamentals such as the rule of law and economic governance. Each of the Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia – is at a different stage of the ...

Media freedom is one indicator of a country's commitment to democracy, good governance and political accountability, and thus its readiness for EU membership. As such, it represents a key element in any aspiring country's EU enlargement agenda, along with other fundamentals such as the rule of law and economic governance. Each of the Western Balkan countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia – is at a different stage of the EU accession process. However, partly as a result of a common recent history, they face similar challenges in the area of media freedom, such as transition from the old regime and the Yugoslav wars, the global economic crisis, rule-of-law deficiencies, and widespread corruption. These factors directly influence the situation of media in the region and add to its complexity. As part of their EU agenda, the Western Balkan countries have largely aligned their relevant legislation with EU standards. However, inadequate implementation remains a concern. In all these countries, opaque media ownership, financial instability in the sector, intimidation and pressure on journalists, and poor working conditions, put spokes in the wheel of independent journalism, encourage self-censorship, and broadly interfere with the media's key role in informing the public. Solving media issues and transforming media institutions require long-term engagement, and largely depend on the domestic context and the countries' overall democratic consolidation. However, the EU is also committed to providing legal and financial support to enlargement countries, and to regularly monitoring how the media situation impacts on their overall readiness to join the EU.

Anstehende Veranstaltungen

10-12-2019
EU institutional dynamics: Ten years after the Lisbon Treaty
Andere Veranstaltung -
EPRS
11-12-2019
Take-aways from 2019 and outlook for 2020: What Think Tanks are Thinking
Andere Veranstaltung -
EPRS

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