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'This is Europe' – an initiative proposed by the President of the European Parliament, Roberta Metsola – consists of a series of debates with EU leaders to discuss their visions for the future of the European Union. On 22 June, the Prime Minister of Croatia, Andrej Plenković, was the third EU leader to address the Parliament since its Conference of Presidents endorsed the initiative on 28 April. Mr Plenković considered Croatia to be at the centre of EU integration and expressed his support for more ...

The six Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo,* Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia) are all countries with substantial economic catch-up potential. The EU-led Berlin Process estimated an annual investment need of some €7.7 billion, which would provide the region with an additional 1 % GDP growth and a positive employment effect of up to 200 000 people. However, quality investments are scarce, or often attached to political, environmental and social conditionalities ...

On 23 June 2022, for the first time since the start of Russia's war on Ukraine, the Heads of State or Government of the EU and of the six Western Balkan countries will meet for a leaders' meeting in Brussels. The discussion will focus on enlargement, energy, security and defence, and youth. Discussion of Emmanuel Macron's 'European Political Community' proposal is not on the agenda, but it could come up during the debate.

This in-depth analysis provides an overview of alignment of EU enlargement countries with EU sanctions against Russia due to its aggression against Ukraine. It analyses the legal and political basis for the alignment with the EU’s Common and Foreign Policy, including the restrictive measures (sanctions). Furthermore, it provides a factual account of the main steps taken by the countries covered by the EU enlargement policy in the Western Balkans and Turkey (Türkiye), coupled by a brief assessment ...

Decentralisation, and implementation of the principle of subsidiarity, are at the heart of both EU accession negotiations with the Western Balkan countries and their accession-related reforms. As the region's six countries differ in population size, territory and history, their decentralisation models differ from each other as well. The European Commission and the European Parliament are closely monitoring these countries' overall progress in multi-level governance and in the implementation of the ...

Russia's influence in the Western Balkans

Sracfhéachaint 08-06-2022

The countries in the Western Balkans are traditionally a focus of Russian interests. The Russian Federation has strong historical ties with the Western Balkans and holds a relative soft-power attraction for them, yet its influence and economic impact in the region are declining, as investment and aid by the EU-27 and other players, such as China, have been dwarfing Russian investment. This ‘At a glance’ note has been produced at the request of a member of the European Committee of the Regions, in ...

This study provides Members of the European Parliament and other interested stakeholders with an independent evaluation of the likely economic, social and environmental impacts from the 10 Flagship projects of the Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans (EIP), adopted by the European Commission on 6 October 2020. On the basis of a tailor-made methodology, the EIP projects’ impact is assessed according to their relevance, effectiveness and efficiency, as well as their synergies and coherence ...

Unequivocal support for the European perspective of Western Balkan countries was reiterated by participants at the EU-Western Balkans summit in Brdo on 6 October 2021, as well as in the European Commission's October 2021 enlargement package reports. Nevertheless, the Commission insists that all countries in the region need to continue to accelerate and deepen reforms on independence of the judiciary, the fight against corruption, and the fight against transnational organised crime. Progress on the ...

The EU leaders met on 5 October 2021 in Brdo pri Kranju, Slovenia, to discuss informally the Union's role in the world over a working dinner. The meeting was coupled with an EU-Western Balkan Summit the next day. The focus at the dinner was on security and defence in the context of the 'Strategic Compass' process, to be finalised by March 2022, with EU leaders agreeing to continue deepening defence cooperation, not least by strengthening the alliance with NATO. The leaders also confirmed their 2019 ...

The coronavirus pandemic has accentuated the call for global solidarity and increased the need for health care and social support in the Western Balkans. The EU's response has included the 'Team Europe' facility, but also specific initiatives for the Western Balkans. In addition to the EU co-funded Covax facility, the most recent proposal by the European Commission and Austria, announced in April 2021, confirmed the delivery of some 651 000 vaccines to the region, where the EU is competing with other ...