EU ministers on Tuesday (24 March) approved starting membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania, a move hailed as restoring "credibility" after months of damaging delays and bickering.
The European Council is set to give the green light this week for starting accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania, in a long-awaited move for the Western Balkans after the enlargement process was effectively put on hold last year.
International donors on Monday (17 February) pledged €1.15 billion to help Albania recover from a powerful earthquake last year, the EU chief announced, more than double the sum expected by Tirana.
European Council president Charles Michel on Sunday (16 February) met with leaders of the six Western Balkan nations seeking to join the EU, for 'frank' talks ahead of a key summit in Zagreb in May.
The idea of an inclusive regional Schengen and cooperation among the six Western Balkan countries, based on the four freedoms of the European Union, is not a replacement but the best way to prepare for EU accession, writes Edi Rama.
The new enlargement rules presented by the Commission on Wednesday (5 February) are supposed to inject credibility, predictability, dynamism and a political steer into the increasingly moribund process. "This is a geostrategic investment," promised Olivér Várhelyi, the Commissioner for enlargement.
The EU is set to propose ways to modify the accession procedures for countries entering the bloc in a bid to placate France, but Brussels cautioned Tuesday (4 February) that any changes won't be major ones.
The Visegrad countries will need some time to close the ditches they have dug in recent years, Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček told EURACTIV.cz in an interview. He also voiced doubts about the need for a reform of EU membership negotiations, demanded by France, saying the process is already reversible at any stage.
Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama has filed a lawsuit for defamation against Kosovo’s outgoing prime minister, who has repeatedly said Rama was involved in talks about dividing up Kosovo along ethnic lines, a court in Pristina said on Thursday (16 January).