Romania’s Presidency of the Council of the EU: opportunities and challenges

13.August 2018

by Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă 

2019 is a year with heavy symbolism for the European Union – we celebrate 15 years of the CEE enlargement, 30 years since the fall of communist regimes in South-Eastern Europe, but also 20 years since the war in Kosovo and NATO’s bombing of Serbia. Will 2019 be a year of renewed opportunities for the Western Balkans? Will the member states become more enlargement-friendly and opt for a ‘widening EU’ type of scenario? Let me explore some of the challenges and opportunities both for Romania as a member state holding the Presidency, and for the EU itself in relation to the WB countries.

#EURoad2Sibiu via the Western Balkans

06.August 2018

by Miruna Butnaru-Troncotă 

Any discussion about the European Union’s (EU) enlargement is implicitly a discussion on the future of Europe and vice versa. Brexit seems to have brought a visible shift towards exploring the possibilities of including new members, in an EU that has been affected for years by signs of ‘enlargement fatigue’, especially after Romania and Bulgaria’s accession in 2007. The so-called ‘road to Sibiu’ which sought to shape the future of the European Union started in Rome in March 2017 and will come to an end in May 2019. Will we experience then a new 'hour for Europe'? How will the debate on the ‘future of Europe’ affect the Western Balkans’ accession process?

What to do about Turkey´s EU membership bid?

Posted on 31. August 2017 by Doris Manu

doris-manuNearly one year ago, Turkey faced a domestic crisis of international significance, which interrupted the summer holidays of many, including those of the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. While the all too powerful Turkish leader was the only target of the putschists in mid-July 2016, the consequences of the attempted coup affected far more people than anyone could have imagined.

The Western Balkans Summit in Trieste – Are the Balkans stuck in the EU’s waiting room post-Brexit?

by Hatidza Jahic and Miruna Troncota

hatidza-jahic miruna-troncota

It’s been almost 15 years since the 2003 Thessaloniki promise of EU membership for the Western Balkans, and the countries in the region are still in the EU’s ‘waiting room’. The European Commission’s ‘White Paper on the Future of Europe’, published on 1 March 2017 does not mention EU enlargement at all. In the context of the 2017 Western Balkans Summit in Trieste, the first one to be organised after the Brexit vote, Miruna Troncotă (Ro) and Hatidza Jahic (BiH) ask: Are the Balkans forever stuck in the EU's waiting room?

The fog that never fades – welcoming the EU friend who never came

Posted on 20. March 2017 by Adnan Rahimić

1-adnan-rahimicIt was a sunny and beautiful day in Sarajevo on 2 March 2017.  The city was full of blue and yellow flags, signs of celebration from the day before – Independence Day. Flags were left hanging from buildings a day longer, probably on purpose – to gently sway and greet very important guest our country was about to receive: Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission. Her visit to Sarajevo was part of her Western Balkan's tour of countries that are EU member state candidates/candidates-to-be. The plan was to meet with the members of the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), to talk about the country’s current issues and problematic path toward EU candidacy and also, to give a lecture on the same subject to the academic community of the University of Sarajevo.