European Union

Tell Europe to Europe

05/12/2012 -  Luisa Chiodi

Europe on the web, in cinemas, on the radio, in schools, universities and public events. For a whole year it is going to take the lead on Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso. To respond to the crisis, with new force and ideality. An editorial

Peripheral comments on the EU audit report on Kosovo

04/12/2012 -  Andrea Lorenzo Capussela

The Eulex mission in Kosovo is failing, in spite of its clever media campaign. A comment

Visas, Serbia, and Fortress Europe

13/11/2012 -  Federico Sicurella Belgrade

Three years ago, the elimination of visa requirements for Western Balkan citizens to travel in the EU was a breath of fresh air. Now, however, due to the numerous asylum requests, the Western Balkans are facing the threat of the measure being revoked. The case of Serbia, between asylum seekers and re-admissions

Dačić's Serbia looks to Moscow

12/09/2012 -  Luka Zanoni

Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić declares himself allergic to Brussels, while the new government grows more and more enthusiastic of Moscow. Data, however, show that from an economics point of view Serbia is very closely linked to the European Union, while pro-Russian sentiments are based on populism

Bosnia: agony over Dayton

14/08/2012 -  Andrea Oskari Rossini

The European integration process of Bosnia and Herzegovina is on stand by until the country adapts its Constitution to the standards required by the European Court of Human Rights. Sarajevo between human and ethnic rights, the Komšić factor

Greece, Germany and the wounds of history

11/07/2012 -  Francesco Martino Distomo

The economic crisis in Europe is stirring up animosity and distrust, especially in places marked by the wounds of history. Like Distomo, a village in western Boeotia, where one of the worst massacres in Nazi-occupied Greece took place in 1944. Here, recriminations against Merkel's austerity pair up with claims – never met – for compensation. A report

Greece, much crisis for nothing

18/06/2012 -  Francesco Martino

Crises are painful, but they must be an opportunity for change. Yet in Greece, says economic analyst Janos Manolopoulos, this has not happened. Athens' political and economic leaders navigate at sight, unable to rethink the country's future

Croatia on the Balkan migration route

07/06/2012 -  Francesca Rolandi

Croatia is on the so-called Balkan route of migration that runs from Serbia to the countries of the EU. How does the country, soon to become the 28th Member State of the Union, deal with migration issues? We have asked Julija Kranjec, expert in asylum and migration policy of the Centre for Peace Studies in Zagreb

Small is Beautiful: Challenges facing Balkan NGOs

30/05/2012 -  Risto Karajkov

EU aid to Balkan civil society seems to be increasingly directed at large NGOs. Small community-based organisations tend to be marginalised mainly as a result of turnover thresholds and excessive red tape set by the donors. An opinion by Risto Karajkov, OBC's correspondent and free-lance civil society consultant

Greece: Chrysi Avghi, the darkest side of the crisis

19/05/2012 -  Gilda Lyghounis

After the failure of negotiations for a new government, Greece is going back to the polls on June 17th. Many eyes are on the neo-Nazi movement Chrysi Avghi ("Golden Dawn"), that has taken advantage of the crisis and attracted consent with violent anti-migrant rhetoric, reawakening eery ghosts from the past. A portrait of the party and its leader, Nikos Michaloliakos

Good reasons to invest in Moldova

16/05/2012 -  Bernardo Venturi Chişinău

Valeriu Lazar, 40, Minister of the Economy and Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova since 2009, took office in the middle of the economic crisis and is one of the government's leading figures. In this interview, he talks about Moldova's response to the crisis, its model of development, and its investment opportunities

Cyprus, the peace process: stranded

11/05/2012 -  Francesco Martino Nicosia

When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced on the 21st of April that the eagerly awaited international conference would not take place, the last hopes were shattered of seeing Cyprus take its turn in the EU presidency as a reunited Country. Not a surprise, certainly. Indeed, there is just a crumb of hope of seeing any evolution in the negotiations. A report from the island

Ergenekon: Ahmet Şık e Nedim Şener's truth

26/04/2012 -  Francesco Martino Nicosia

Known in Turkey for their investigations on the "deep state", Ahmet Şık and Nedim Şener have been arrested in 2011, accused of being part of the"Ergenekon" terrorist organization, the same they contributed to expose. A case that soon became a symbol untransparent sides of the investigation. OBC met them in Cyprus, a few weeks after their release

Serbia in turmoil over regionalisation

23/04/2012 -  Chiara Guglielmetti & Miguel Rodriguez

Big international agencies have paved the way with ad hoc funds, followed by institutional initiatives en route to EU integration. An overview of the process of regionalisation in Serbia

Kosovo: obvious thoughts on the footnote

13/03/2012 -  Andrea Lorenzo Capussela

The agreement between Kosovo and Belgrade, reached through EU mediation, enables Kosovo to be represented at regional summits and sign commercial agreements with third countries. At one condition, though: the country's name must be marked by an asterisk linking it to a footnote. The meaning of which is explained to us by Andrea Lorenzo Capussela's

EU fiasco: the case of Kosovo’s Central Bank

24/01/2012 -  Andrea Lorenzo Capussela

On January 11 EULEX dimissed all the corruption charges against Hashim Rexhepi, former governor of the Central Bank of Kosovo. Rexhepi's case, however, unearthed serious concernes about the EU Mission's administration of justice. An editorial by Andrea Lorenzo Capussela, former Director of ICO's Economics Unit

SEEP and the Three Musketeers

03/01/2012 -  Arzu Geybullayeva

The consortium controlling Azerbaijan's Shah Deniz gas field should decide by April 2012 which pipeline will take its gas to Europe once Shah Deniz II becomes fully operational in 2017. There are three established candidates and a late newcomer supported by BP. Who will win the contract? And what about Cardinal Richelieu?

Kosovo: lonely Mitrovica

23/11/2011 -  Tatjana Lazarević Mitrovica

The conflict over the control of Northern Kosovo is at dead end, though technical negotiations between Serbs and Kosovo Albanians have resumed in Bruxelles. Mitrovica Serbs, set against Pristina, Kfor and Eulex, now feel increasingly isolated also from Belgrade

To be an entrepreneur Serbia. Mission impossible?

31/08/2011 -  Risto Karajkov

When institutions are inefficient or corrupt and there is a lack of legal certainty, it's difficult to do business. Even harder for small companies. An interview with Žarko Milisavljević, president of the Association of Small and Medium-Size Enterprises and Entrepreneurs in Serbia

Domestic violence: slow progress in Croatia

26/08/2011 -  OWPSEE/OBC

Despite the legislative framework being up to standars, Croatia lags far behind in terms of actual protection of women victims of violence in the home. Our analysis

Neighbour or Friend? EU aspirations of the ENP countries

17/08/2011 -  Nelli Babayan*

Countries included in the European Neighbourhood Policy, like the three republics of the South Caucasus and Moldova, are unlikely to join the EU any time soon. Still, according to different rankings, their performance is not so different from that of current candidate countries Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (fYROM) at the time those countries were granted candidate status (2004-2005)

Balkan SMEs: lagging behind in EU eco-innovation opportunities

11/08/2011 -  Risto Karajkov Skopje

It's not a question of great inventions. What is required is the capacity to use existing technologies in an innovative and environmentally-friendly way. EU funds are now also available for SMEs in the Balkans, but proposals are not yet flooding in

Time for a European Macedonia

02/08/2011 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

The dispute with Greece on the constitutional name of the country has been keeping Macedonia outside the gates of the EU for too long. This situation is bound to create lasting negative effects not only for Skopje, but also for its European neighbors

EULEX, the delicate balance of justice

15/07/2011 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

Without a common European position on the status of Kosovo, EULEX judges face many challenges and paradoxes: every single judge, for example, must choose whether or not to apply the laws passed in Pristina's parliament. We have spoken to Dragomir Yordanov, a Bulgarian judge, who worked for EULEX from the deployment of the mission till the spring of 2011

Turkey: why the constitutional-reform process matters

28/06/2011 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

After Erdogan's victory in the elections of 12 June, Turkey is entering a difficult and important constitutional-reform process. We talked with the analyst Dimitar Bechev of the European Council on Foreign Relations

Is Greece going to be saved by China?

20/06/2011 -  Gilda Lyghounis

Greece has not emerged from its economic crisis. If the European Union stops signing " blank cheques” in order to save Greece, many Greeks will start hoping that China soon becomes a lifebuoy to keep them afloat. In the meantime, economic relations between Athens and Bejing keep increasing at a very fast pace, even if relations between the two countries has some friction

Kosovo, the contradictions of the European presence

16/05/2011 -  Francesco Martino

At the beginning of April, through the pages of the British daily 'The Guardian', he expressed very explicit criticism of the work of the European mission and the International Civilian Office in Kosovo. A point of view to be kept in mind, considering that Andrea Lorenzo Capussela worked in Kosovo, until Spring 2011 precisely for ICO. Our interview

Dubioza about Europe

13/05/2011 -  Luka Zanoni

They won't be there, at Eurovision 2011. But their piece, called 'Euro Song', is already on everybody's lips. They are the Dubioza Kolektiv who want to to talk about Europe. And their efforts have been rewarded.

Schengen, prisoners of a fragile Europe

12/05/2011 -  Francesco Martino

Although Bulgaria and Romania have met the technical requirements, Bucharest and Sofia will indefinitely remain outside of the Schengen area. A long list of unresolved issues with the two Balkan countries provides substantial reasons for exclusion, but the main problem seems to lie in the increasing fragility of the European political project

Inzko’s choice

07/05/2011 -  Andrea Rossini

In the open crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the international community must avoid the trap of a head-on collision, bringing the European integration process back to the forefront of the political debate. In a Bosnia with no High Representative