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Serbia

At a Glance 12-04-2024

Serbia, with a population of 6.9 million, has been advancing towards EU accession since 2012, when it received candidate country status. Despite some progress, Serbia still has three major hurdles to overcome: improving internal political dialogue and reforms, reaching a comprehensive normalisation agreement with Kosovo* and ensuring better alignment with EU foreign policy. Although Serbia voted for Russia's suspension from the UN Human Rights Council, it has not applied any of the EU's sanctions ...

Sanctions have become an increasingly central element of the EU's common and foreign security policy. At present, the EU has over 50 sanctions programmes in place, concerning nearly 40 countries. Unlike the comprehensive trade embargoes used in the past, the EU has moved towards asset freezes and visa bans targeting individual persons and companies, aiming to influence foreign governments while avoiding humanitarian costs for the general population. Other measures in the sanctions 'toolkit' include ...

Montenegro

At a Glance 12-04-2024

Montenegro began EU accession negotiations in 2012. The European Commission's latest report notes tensions leading to a blocked political system. On 2 April 2023, after securing 59 % of votes in a presidential election run-off, Montenegro's former Economy Minister Jakov Milatović declared victory over the incumbent, Milo Đukanović, who had been president or prime minister for more than three decades. The current pro-European Prime Minister, Milojko Spajić, took office in October 2023. Spajić's government ...

Türkiye

At a Glance 12-04-2024

Türkiye has long been a strategic European Union partner on migration, security, and trade. However, following the attempted coup in 2016, Türkiye's democratic backsliding led the Council to freeze accession negotiations in 2018. Although relations have thawed, the EU is exploring a more realistic framework for bilateral relations. This 'At a glance' note has been produced at the request of a member of the European Committee of the Regions, in the framework of the cooperation agreement between the ...

Bosnia and Herzegovina

At a Glance 12-04-2024

Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a population of 3.2 million, became independent from the former Yugoslavia on 3 March 1992, following a referendum that was boycotted by ethnic Serbs. Bosnia and Herzegovina was offered a European Union membership perspective at the EU-Western Balkans summit in Thessaloniki in 2003. Building on the European Commission's recommendation of 12 March 2024, the European Council decided on 21 March to open accession negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina. This 'At a glance ...

North Macedonia

At a Glance 12-04-2024

North Macedonia gained independence from the former Yugoslavia in 1991. The country applied for EU membership in March 2004 and was granted EU candidate status in December 2005. As part of the June 2018 Prespa Agreement, the country changed its name to the Republic of North Macedonia, in exchange for Greece ending its veto on its EU and NATO accession. The first intergovernmental conference on 19 July 2022 marked the beginning of accession negotiations. The North Macedonian government, led by Prime ...

This study, commissioned by the European Parliament’s Policy Department for Citizens’ Rights and Constitutional Affairs at the request of the LIBE Committee, identifies new challenges to democratic resilience and electoral processes, systematically mapping the EU responses to counter them. The study focuses both on external and internal challenges and assesses the responses of the Union particularly in the run-up to the 2024 European Parliament elections. It also provides specific policy recommendations ...

In 2003, at the Thessaloniki Summit, the European Council set out its determination to fully support the EU perspective of the Western Balkan countries. However, in the context of relatively limited progress in implementing reforms needed to align with the EU, none have joined since Croatia's accession in 2013, since when the region has been confronted by 'enlargement fatigue' and increasing Russian and Chinese interference. Responding to these challenges, European Commission President Ursula von ...

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen met with President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of Egypt, in Cairo on 17 March 2024, joined by the prime ministers of Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Greece and Italy. This meeting sealed the €7.4 billion EU-Egypt Strategic and Comprehensive Partnership (the Partnership) to help boost Egypt's faltering economy and avert another migration crisis in Europe. Critics have raised concerns over the declared urgency of disbursing funds under this partnership without the ...

At the March European Council meeting, discussions focussed on the war in Ukraine, security and defence, the Middle East and enlargement. With a new sense of urgency, EU leaders reiterated their steadfast support for Ukraine, calling on the Council to rapidly adopt an eighth support package for Ukraine. Regarding security and defence, they agreed on the need to increase defence readiness and boost the defence industry, but did not agree on ways of promoting the defence sector. On the Middle East, ...