The Western Balkans – A Role for Industrial Policy

Some scholars underline the need to foster industrial development in the Western Balkans. They also highlight the difficulties of such a strategy because of the lack of protectionism – which leads to a rather pessimistic assessment of economic prospects in the region. In this short note, I recall the importance of manufacturing industries for growth…

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The Western Balkans Summit in Trieste and Bilateral Disputes

This year’s Western Balkans Summit in Trieste will be the fourth consecutive meeting of the heads of governments and Foreign Ministers of the six countries, aiming to build on the achievements of the previous meetings and take their commitments a step further. The Summits are organised under the framework of the ‘Berlin Process’, a five-year…

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The future of the Berlin Process

The Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) drafted a discussion paper The Future of the Berlin Process. The goal of this policy brief is to outline the most tangible outputs of the previous Western Balkan Summits, and to propose several structural changes that need to be introduced after the 2018 London Summit in order…

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End Roaming Charges in EU Candidate Countries: Bring People Closer

As of yesterday, 15 June 2017, roaming charges in the European Union no longer apply. The President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani, the Prime Minister of Malta Joseph Muscat (on behalf of the Maltese Presidency of the Council of the European Union), and the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker issued a triumphant…

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Lunch discussion on BiEPAG’s report “The Crisis of Democracy in the Western Balkans. An Anatomy of Stabilitocracy and the Limits of EU Democracy Promotion”

Main sources of current instability in the region and ways to mitigate them were elaborated during a lunch discussion, held in Brussels today, on the topic of BiEPAG’s recent report “The Crisis of Democracy in the Western Balkans. An Anatomy of Stabilitocracy and the Limits of EU Democracy Promotion”. The gathering was organised by Open…

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‘Berlin Plus’ will not change the game

On 31 May 2017 the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sigmar Gabriel, announced a “Berlin plus” agenda at a conference of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Western Balkans organised by the Aspen Institute in Berlin. The conference took place against the background of a number of political developments in the Western Balkan countries…

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The new government in Macedonia: High expectations, cautious optimism

On 31 May 2017, the seemingly improbable transfer of power finished in Macedonia. A new ruling majority in Parliament made of SDSM, DUI and Alliance for Albanians with 62 votes out of 120 voted a new government. 44 out of 51 VMRO-DPMNE’s MPs voted against and 5 BESA’s MPs abstained from voting. This concluded a…

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Alternative media: Overcoming lack of media freedoms in the Western Balkans?

Similar to democratisation itself in the region, the transformation of the media landscape in the Western Balkans (WB) is an open-ended process that can never be fully consolidated, a process that has been marked by significant progress, but also by patterns of regression. The Balkans in Europe Policy Advisor Group (BiEPAG) argued recently that “the…

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The Washington D.C. conference “Transformation and Stability in the Western Balkans”

One of the most prominent organizations dedicated to spreading freedom and democracy around the world, Freedom House, in cooperation with the European Fund for the Balkans and the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) organized a conference in Washington, D.C. “The transformation and stability in the Western Balkans”. What is the state of democracy…

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The Washington D.C. conference “Balkan Troubles: The European Perspective and the Case for US Engagement”

The Atlantic Council in cooperation with the European Fund for the Balkans and the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) organised a conference “Balkan Troubles: The European Perspective and the Case for US Engagement” in Washington, D.C. The main topics of the conference were the role of the US in the current geopolitical relations…

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