European Union

Macedonia: Media Freedom Under Threat

05/07/2010 -  Risto Karajkov Skopje

In Early June, the EU Commission had to remind the Macedonian government that freedom of expression and of the media are fundamental rights and the basis of democratic societies. The reaction followed that of the European Federation of Journalists, which condemned the “scandalous neglect” of the safety of journalists in the country

Turkey: Orientals? We already are

09/07/2010 -  Fazıla Mat

Has Turkey, tired of waiting for EU integration, turned away from the West? These are only speculations, the stakeholders state. Among Turkish public opinion, though, trust is decreasing. An in-depth examination of Turkish regional relations and its Union integration position

Macedonia: Stuck in the Waiting Room

14/06/2010 -  Risto Karajkov Skopje

Although it was the first country in the region to sign a Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, Macedonia seems to have slid backward in the accession queue, and will probably be stuck in a waiting room for a long time

White Orphans, the enlargement's children

07/07/2010 -  Cristina Bezzi

Romania’s 350,000 “white orphans” have been left behind by one or both parents, who emigrated to search for jobs and resources to grant their children a better future. During the “Left Behind” conference in May 2010 in Milan, Italy the “Albero della Vita” association presented the results of their study of the problem

Abkhazia: Europe is close, on the other side of the Black Sea

09/06/2010 -  Giorgio Comai

Stanislav Lakoba is a well-known Abkhaz historian and politician. Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso met him in Sukhumi where he talked about Abkhazia's sense of belonging to Europe, the current situation in this self-proclaimed state, and its relations with Brussels

Turkey, Europe

11/06/2010 -  Fazıla Mat

Despite changes - from the emigration waves of the sixties to internal migrations - Istanbul remains open to Europe and to the world. Writer Murat Belge talks about Turkey, Europe, and the re-emerging past

Europe: Yes, But When?

08/06/2010 -  Luka Zanoni

The EU - Western Balkans international conference held in Sarajevo ended without dramatic news. An emphasis on the region’s EU accession prospects with no discussion of specific dates or accelerated access. A comment

European Neighbourhood Policy, five years of increasing relations

04/06/2010 - 

In the five years since the establishment of the European Neighbourhood Policy, mobility, commercial trade, and assistance to countries not yet eligible to join the Union have increased. But civil and political rights still need improvement

Slavoj Žižek: No alternatives to Europe

25/05/2010 -  Mustafa Canka Ulcinj

Internationally renowned philosopher Slavoj Žižek recently gave a series of lectures in Montenegro. The speeches focused on the relationship between Europe and the Balkans, the need for EU integration and the situation in Kosovo. Our interview

9 May: Why It Should be Celebrated

26/05/2010 -  Davide Sighele

9 May, the Day of Europe. Europe scared by the severe Greek crisis threatening to spill over to other countries in the Eurozone. Today, more than ever, we must rediscover the ultimate values of staying together and rework a political agreement grounded in EU institutions. A comment

Ghosts at the Borders

20/04/2010 -  Laura Delsere

According to Tim Judah every EU foreign minister should immediately read this book. In Why Europe Fears its Neighbors, Fabrizio Tassinari talks of the EU’s anxiety about those just beyond its borders. We interviewed him here

Borders aren't forever

01/04/2010 -  Francisco Martinez Sukhumi

Perspectives on the development of Abkhazia, a territory whose self-proclaimed independence has not been widely recognised at the international level, the country's strained dialogue with Tbilisi, and its relations with Russia and the EU. An interview with Maxim Gvinjia, de facto foreign minister of Abkhazia

Back to the Danube

25/03/2010 -  Gilda Lyghounis

For over a century, Greek shipowners were the absolute lords of the Danube river. Their ships once carried goods from the Black Sea to Europe, but practically disappeared by War War II. Today, in spite of the serious economic crisis, Greece is trying to regain its role

European by nature

10/03/2010 -  Alberto Tetta Istanbul

Istanbul is the 2010 European Capital of Culture. The calendar of events, the debate between artists and urban planners on the choices by the Istanbul 2010 Agency. The Turkish identity, the European identity

Northern Kosovo, in the hunt for solutions

24/02/2010 -  Tatjana Lazarević Mitrovica

The leak in January of the International Civilian Office (ICO) draft strategy for northern Kosovo stirred intense reactions. The plan, which foresees a complex net of new bodies and the "closure" of the Mitrovica office of UNMIK, has been rejected by Serbs as a new try to implement the 2007 Ahtisaari plan

A bridge apart?

23/02/2010 -  Nikolai Yotov Bucharest

Despite their joint access to the EU in 2007, Bulgarians and Romanians continue to live with outdated stereotypes. Political, economic, social, informational exchange between Bucharest and Sofia remains not simply unsatisfactory, but practically absent

De facto cooperation proves to be difficult

15/02/2010 -  Gegam Bagdasaryan Stepanakert

International organisations, both governmental and non-governmental, find it difficult to co-operate with NGOs in Nagorno Karabakh because its de facto independence is not recognised at the international level. These are some of the difficulties facing civil society in a territory not officially recognised

Double standards or fair approach?

10/02/2010 -  Arzu Geybullayeva Baku

Russia and European Union member states have shown different approaches to the South Caucasus. Finding some common ground with Russia might help resolve the conflicts in the region


09/02/2010 -  Francesco Martino Sofia

The debacle of Bulgarian European Commissioner Rumyana Zheleva was the first blow to Prime Minister Boyko Borisov's government. Although it is still too early to assess the consequences of Zheleva’s defeat at the national and international levels, the governing party's criteria for choosing its highest-ranking officials should be called into question

Moldova-EU: a chance for a new relationship

03/02/2010 -  Iulian Lungu Chişinău

As the name of the Republic of Moldova's new governing coalition implies, the Alliance for European Integration has as its main goal the improvement of Moldovan-European Union relations


09/02/2010 -  Alvise Armellini Brussels

Tomorrow, newly-elected European Commissioners begin their terms in office. Who are the new Eastern European Commissioners? What are their stands on the issues? How did they fare in Parliamentary hearings? More details in our correspondent's report

Serbia: visa free

29/12/2009 -  Danijela Nenadić Belgrade

From December 19, citizens of Serbia can go to Szeged, Thessaloniki, or Trieste for coffee...without a visa. There is happiness, but not for everyone. The most disappointed are adolescents and those who were born and grew up under the sanctions. A commentary

EU enlargement: the race of the snail

24/12/2009 -  Alvise Armellini Brussels

After the Lisbon Treaty, the EU enlargement process continues - slowly and quietly. The voice of public opinions, the moods of the 27, and the countries' perspectives in the analysis of our correspondent

The partial fall of the Schengen wall

10/12/2009 -  Mustafa Canka Podgorica

On 30 November, the Council of Interior Ministers of the EU approved the request to cancel visa requirements for citizens from Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro. Citizens from these countries will be able to travel freely to EU countries starting from 19 December. The reactions from Podgorica, Montenegro.

Macedonia name issue: The Bucharest Summit Syndrome Redux

03/12/2009 -  Risto Karajkov Skopje

According to the European Commission, Macedonia is ready for the accession negotiations, but needs to solve the dispute with Greece first. Despite some positive signals between Skopje and Athens, like the meeting between Gruevski and Papandreou, the country expects a further disappointment

A new Thessaloniki

06/11/2009 -  Christophe SoliozPaul Stubbs Geneva, Zagreb

The Integration of the countries of the Western Balkans into the European Union needs a new momentum. Christophe Solioz and Paul Stubbs think that there's a need for a new summit on the model of the Thessaloniki conference of June 2003

The wall of lost chances: the Balkans and the Caucasus after 1989

30/10/2009 -  Laura Delsere

Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Western Balkans and the Caucasus are left with many a lost chance. The analysis of Tihomir Loza, deputy director of "Transitions on line", since 1999 among the major online news media devoted to the former Eastern Bloc

Take Bosnia and Herzegovina as it is

21/10/2009 -  Christophe Solioz

A clear strategy is now needed: effective political dialogue and a strong EUSR. A comment on the Butmir negotiations on the future of Bosnia and Herzegovina

Will Romania and the next EC get along?

08/10/2009 -  Nikolai Yotov Bucharest

Radu Carp is a Public Law and Political Science professor, vice-dean of the University of Bucharest's Political Science Department, a respected lecturer, and the author of several important studies. Osservatorio spoke with him about Romania's relations with the European Commission

Mission Stabilisation

05/10/2009 -  Alma Lama Pristina

The difficult balances of the EULEX mission, the proposals for territorial exchange between Serbia and Kosovo, and the visa liberalisation issue. Our correspondent talked to Italian ambassador in Kosovo Michael L. Giffoni