The Slovenian Presidency of Council of the EU
After Portugal, the presidency of the Council of the EU moved from the Iberian Peninsula to the Balkan Peninsula as Slovenia took it over on 1 July 2021. Its presiding over the Union will round off the work of its co-members of the Trio, Germany and Portugal, whose key task was to better facilitate efforts to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
Common Regional Market and European Perspective
At the latest Berlin Process Summit, held on November 10, 2020 in Sofia, the Western Balkan leaders (WB6) agreed upon an ambitious plan to create a Common Regional Market.
The Enlargement Impasse and the Necessity for its Transformation
The Slovenian presidency of the EU starting on 1 July has placed the state of the enlargement process for the Western Balkans high on its list of priorities.
The Future of the EU in the Western Balkans…
The EU perspective toward the Western Balkans has remained undisputed, but especially since it endorsed accession for the region at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003. Besides Serbia, where Euroscepticism is not a new phenomenon, the rest of the countries from the region have been gazing toward EU accession with strong backing from local populations.
Common Regional Market
At the Sofia Summit on 10 November 2020, the leaders of the Western Balkans launched the Common Regional Market initiative – the most ambitious regional integration effort to date in the Western Balkans.
New negotiating structure
The Government of Serbia has passed a Decision that changes the current negotiating structure, in accordance with the revised methodology of EU enlargement.
Time of Crisis, Time for Think Tanks
The COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world unprepared, think tanks included. Besides producing evidence-based analyses of the current events, think tanks utilise their expertise and experience to foresee potential challenges that lie ahead. Yet, this crisis has proven that even think tanks, a beacon of forward-looking thinking, have failed to anticipate the outbreak of the pandemic, as well as the immediate magnitude of its consequences.
Accession negotiations according to the revised Methodology of the EU
The Council of the EU officially endorsed Commission’s proposal for a revised enlargement methodology for the Western Balkans in March 2020. It envisages a thematic division of chapters into six clusters – thematic units. Although the revised methodology was primarily made to apply to accession processes of Albania and North Macedonia, the proposed changes can be accommodated within the existing negotiating framework of Serbia as well.
The Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the EU
After Germany, the largest and most influential EU member state, a relatively small country from the Iberian Peninsula, Portugal, comes at the helm of the Council of the EU.
Breaking the impasse: Exploiting new opportunities to strengthen EU-Western Balkans relations
This discussion paper argues that successful economic and democratic transformation of the Western Balkans depends not only on a more coherent political engagement of the EU and its member states with the region, but also on a more effective use of the full range of tools within the enlargement policy toolbox.