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Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), alongside other Western Balkans countries, was identified as a potential candidate for EU membership during the European Council's Thessaloniki summit of June 2003. BiH applied for EU membership in February 2016. The Commission adopted its opinion on BiH's EU membership application in May 2019, but internal political instability and lack of political reforms have dampened the country's prospects of joining the EU.

Georgia is often considered a frontrunner among Eastern Partnership countries. Despite Russia's continued de facto occupation of one-fifth of the country's territory, until recently Georgia performed relatively well in terms of political stability, pluralism and economic growth. The country is staunchly pro-Western, with aspirations to join both the EU and NATO. Like Ukraine and Moldova, Georgia signed an association agreement with the EU in 2014. The agreement envisages a free trade area, as well ...

Regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations are key elements in the EU accession process for all western Balkan countries. Serbia and Kosovo have both declared their intention to join the EU. However, despite some initial successes, such as the Brussels Agreement of 2013, the dialogue facilitated by the EU and initiated in 2011 has stalled. In 2020, the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue was relaunched and supported by the international community. The appointment of United States (US) special presidential ...

'Operation Peace Spring', launched on 9 October 2019, is the third major Turkish military operation on Syrian territory since 2016, following the 'Euphrates Shield' (2016-2017) and 'Olive Branch' (2018) operations. Though the decision of Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, to invade the north-east Syrian region governed by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD), may have come as a surprise to some, it is in fact consistent with the rationale of a regime that counts the fight against the Kurdistan ...

On 15 October 2019, the General Affairs Council discussed the issue of enlargement as regards Albania and North Macedonia without reaching unanimity (opposition of one EU Member State) on the decision to open EU accession negotiations with these countries. The Council will return to the issue after the European Council meeting on 17 18 October. In line with the 2018 western Balkans strategy, which aimed to inject new momentum into the enlargement process, Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission ...

Among the Western Balkan countries aspiring to EU membership, Serbia is seen as a frontrunner in terms of its democratic institutions, level of economic development and overall readiness for accession. However, in November 2018 opposition politician, Borko Stefanović, was beaten up by thugs, triggering a wave of protests that has spread across the country. Week after week, thousands have taken to the streets, accusing Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of ...

After fighting broke out between government forces and separatists, the formerly Serbian province of Kosovo was transferred to United Nations administration in 1999. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence. However, Belgrade continues to view its former province as Serbian territory. Over 100 countries, including 23 EU Member States, have recognised Kosovar independence, but full recognition and membership of most international organisations are still a long way off. Both Serbia and Kosovo aspire to ...

Montenegro: 2018 country report

W skrócie 27-11-2018

The European Commission report on Montenegro, published in April 2018, makes a positive evaluation of the country's progress, with Montenegro leading the EU accession process in the Western Balkans. However, although Montenegro has been a stable country, on good terms with its neighbours for many years, the internal political situation has deteriorated over the past two years following a coup attempt in 2016. Parliament is due to vote a resolution on the report in plenary in November.

Future EU-Turkey relations

Briefing 23-10-2018

In June 2018, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was re-elected as president of Turkey, this time with extended powers under the revised Turkish Constitution. Over the previous couple of years, his country's relationship with the EU had been challenged by issues such as the ongoing management of the migration crisis and the EU-Turkey Agreement, the attempted military coup in Istanbul and Ankara, and the ensuing purge, which the EU and international organisations criticised for its disproportionate severity. With ...

With most negotiation chapters open and a likely candidate to meet the 2025 accession date suggested by the European Commission's new 2018 enlargement strategy, Montenegro is in a leading position on its path towards EU accession, compared to the other five aspirants from the Western Balkans. In June 2017, the country also joined NATO, achieving another strategic foreign policy priority. Despite these favourable developments, Montenegro has a lot of work ahead in order to reach EU standards in areas ...