Brussels overhauls process for joining bloc as it seeks to make it ‘more credible’ for membersLess than a week after the departure of the UK, Brussels is seeking to breathe new life into the enlargement of the EU, unveiling an overhaul of the process for joining the bloc.The long-awaited document from the European commission was published less than a week after the first ever departure of a big country. One main purpose is to keep alive the EU ambition for six western Balkan nations, with a combined population of 17.9 million people. No country has joined the EU since Croatia in 2013, but Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia hope to eventually. Continue reading...
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Member states clear way for Balkan countries to join after concerns over corruptionThe EU can start...Member states clear way for Balkan countries to join after concerns over corruptionThe EU can start membership negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, according to a draft decision by the bloc’s 27 member states due to be finalised this week.If approved as expected, the agreement would end two years of delays and signal new momentum for all six western Balkan countries – Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and North Macedonia – seeking to join the EU. Continue reading...
The abrupt decision by France to postpone any discussion of North Macedonia joining the European Union...The abrupt decision by France to postpone any discussion of North Macedonia joining the European Union is reverberating in an already unsettled region.
Bosnia’s politics are in crisis. But that is reason for the EU to help us, not shut us out | Boriša Falatar
A failed state on the edge of Europe is a bad outcome for everyone. The EU...A failed state on the edge of Europe is a bad outcome for everyone. The EU needs to show bravery and visionThe European Union’s recent decision to freeze any further enlargement into the Balkans made me think of a moment from a quarter of a century ago, when I saw the EU flag for the first time. I was a 16-year-old Bosnian refugee, standing in dirt, holding a humanitarian aid package in my arms. The box I had received contained rice, flour and other relief items that were supposed to last me two weeks. I took out a can of corned beef and on the side saw a dazzling circle of gold stars on a blue background. The text beneath the EU flag read: “Donated by the European Community.”This was not how we had imagined our future relationship with the European Union. Its flag was supposed to represent our aspiration for a higher state of existence, close to our heritage as Europe’s most diverse country. It was not the corned beef, but the dream of joining a community of tolerance and open borders that kept many of us going through rough times. It gave us hope because, deep inside, we knew that we belonged. This belief in what the EU represented was practically coded in our national DNA. Continue reading...