France blocks launch of EU membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje October 19, 2019

Fears among EU officials postponing the decision on membership talks yet again will increase Russian, Turkish and Chinese influence in the fragile Western Balkans region.

Serbia, Albania, North Macedonia agree to set up "Balkan Schengen" zone

Denitsa Koseva in Sofia October 10, 2019

Plans to enable passport-free travel across the three countries by end-2021 in an attempt to facilitate trade and make political relations more peaceful.

Growth already past its peak after Western Balkans’ brief blossoming

bne IntelliNews October 9, 2019

Growth has started slowing in most of the Western Balkans economies after an all too brief period of rapid economic acceleration, finds a new report from the World Bank.

VIENNEAST COMPASS: Hungary punching above its weight in regional SEE politics

Marcus How of ViennEast September 23, 2019

The incoming president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, took an unexpected decision of nominating Hungarian Laszlo Trocsanyi as commissioner for expansion as Hungary increases its influence in the region

Albania hit by strongest earthquake in 30 years

bne IntelliNews September 22, 2019

Power cuts and damage to buildings in Tirana and Durres after quake measuring 5.8 on the Richter scale, but no deaths reported.

Albanian ex-interior minister sentenced to five years in prison in drug trafficking case

Valentina Dimitrievska in Skopje September 20, 2019

Saimir Tahiri was found not guilty of drug trafficking but sentenced for abuse of office, in verdict announced as Tirana seeks a date to open EU accession talks next month.