Western Balkans – Let’s Get Real!

On 1 July, Slovenia took the helm of the EU Council Presidency. In the context of the Western Balkans (WB) region, the handover was rather bitter for some countries. Bulgaria retained its position in blocking the beginning of accession negotiations for North Macedonia, further freezing the way forward for Albania as well. Serbia and Montenegro held the first intergovernmental conferences under the revised methodology. No new developments either in the process of visa liberalisation for Kosovo, nor the candidate status for Bosnia & Herzegovina. If there is still a prospect for EU enlargement for WB countries, then the scheduled Western Balkans Summit within the Slovenian Presidency should bring something new and concrete. Otherwise, the EU-WB partnership will continue to slowly deteriorate, as was Turkey’s case, until it eventually breaks.

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