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Old 02-06-2018, 09:54 PM   #1
Tomche Makedonche
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Default EU’s New Balkans Enlargement Strategy Demands Reforms

http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/arti...ans-02-06-2018

EU’s New Balkans Enlargement Strategy Demands Reforms

The European Commission’s new enlargement strategy offers support for Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia - but insists they must step up reforms and fully embrace EU values if they hope to join

The European Commission launched its new enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans on Tuesday, offering help for all six EU aspirant states but insisting that all the membership hopefuls implement reforms and make a clear commitment to the “fundamental values” of the European bloc in return.

“All the Western Balkan countries must now urgently redouble their efforts, address vital reforms and complete their political, economic and social transformation,” the strategy document says.

It says that the six countries have “a historic window of opportunity to firmly and unequivocally bind their future to the European Union”.

But it also makes it clear that the EU sees the offer of potential membership as a “powerful tool to promote democracy, the rule of law and the respect for fundamental rights” in the Balkans.

“Joining the EU is far more than a technical process. It is a generational choice, based on fundamental values, which each country must embrace more actively, from their foreign and regional policies right down to what children are taught at school,” it says.

The strategy singles out Montenegro and Serbia as the current front-runners in the enlargement process.

“With strong political will, the delivery of real and sustained reforms, and definitive solutions to disputes with neighbours, they could potentially be ready for membership in a 2025 perspective,” it says.

However, it adds that this perspective is “extremely ambitious” and will depend on each country’s progress.

Albania and Macedonia are making significant progress and the Commission is ready to prepare recommendations to open accession negotiations if conditions are fulfilled, the strategy says.

It also says it will start considering Bosnia and Herzegovina’s membership application after it gets answers to its questions from Sarajevo.

“With sustained effort and engagement, Bosnia and Herzegovina could become a candidate for accession,” it suggests.

The strategy suggests Kosovo could progress by implementing its Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU and then “advance on its European path once objective circumstances allow.

However, it stresses that a comprehensive, legally binding normalisation agreement between Belgrade and Pristina is “urgent and crucial so that Serbia and Kosovo can advance on their respective European paths”.

The strategy includes six flagship initiatives ranging from initiatives to strengthen the rule of law, reinforced cooperation on security and migration through joint investigating teams and the European border and coast guards, expanding the EU Energy Union to the Western Balkans, and lowering roaming charges and rolling out broadband in the region.

“I will travel to each of the countries of the Western Balkans at the end of this month with a clear message: keep reforming and we will keep supporting your European future,” said the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

The strategy also calls for regional cooperation, good neighbourly relations and reconciliation, noting that the process of securing justice for the victims of the wars of the 1990s is incomplete.

“There is no place in the EU for inflammatory rhetoric, let alone for glorification of war criminals from any side,” it says, adding that the leaders of the region must condemn statements or actions which fuel ethnic tension.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said that the Western Balkans shares the same history, cultural heritage, opportunities and challenges as the rest of Europe.

“This strategy gives all of us a shared, clear, unequivocal, credible and concrete perspective for each and every one of our six partners' EU integration,” she said at the presentation of the strategy
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“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop, and you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all” - Mario Savio

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Old 02-06-2018, 09:59 PM   #2
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According to the EU, Macedonia isn't even a frontrunner for membership, rather Serbia and Montenegro hold that title, with the hopes of joining by 2025... a date which is apparently extremely ambitious...

Yep, Macedonians, listen to your politicians, if you change your name you will all get into the EU, like instantly...
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“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop, and you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all” - Mario Savio

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Old 02-06-2018, 10:55 PM   #3
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THE EU DOES NOT WANT MACEDONIA IN IT. We became a candidate country in 2005. 2025 is 20 years later. Since when did we stop being a front runner ?
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:51 PM   #4
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http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/arti...ans-02-07-2018

EU Strategy Exacerbates Winner-Loser Divide in Balkans

While the EU’s new strategy on Balkans gives Serbia and Montenegro reason for optimism about their membership, the other four countries feel out in the cold

Serbia and Montenegro have been deemed “frontrunners” in terms of EU membership in the Balkans – although an overview of the issues the individual so-called “Western Balkans six” face offers a more nuanced perspective.

“We are proud to have Serbia recognized as a leader. We worked hard for that, and will have to work even harder in the weeks, months and years ahead,” Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic said, Serbia’s national broadcaster, RTS, reported.

Montenegro’s Prime Minister Dusko Markovic, meanwhile said he believed that his country might even join the EU before 2025, which the EU Strategy sets as the year by which Serbia and Montenegro could become members.

“This is a positive signal that sends a clear message to the region that the European perspective for the Western Balkans is credible and ‘alive’,” Markovic said in Podgorica.

However, the overall assessment of the rule of law in the region in the Strategy strikes a more pessimistic tone.

It says that these countries show “clear elements of state capture”, including links with organised crime and corruption at all levels of government, as well as a strong entanglement of public and private interests.

“All this feeds a sentiment of impunity and inequality. There is also extensive political interference in and control of the media,” the Strategy says.

Many observers see the European Commission’s positive assessment of Serbia’s progress mainly as a tool to lure Belgrade closer to the EU and away from Russian influence.

While the enlargement Strategy names Serbia a “front-runner”, its EU integration process has in fact lasted for years already.

Belgrade signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement, SAA, back in 2008 and applied for EU membership in 2009.

With 12 negotiation chapters opened but only two provisionally closed, accession even by 2025 still looks unlikely.

Montenegro has got much further.

After declaring independence from a state union with Serbia in 2006, it signed an SAA the next year and has been an EU candidate state since 2010. It has also joined NATO, in 2017.

It has since opened 30 of the 35 chapters and is thus a much clearer “front-runner” for EU membership than Serbia.

However, the European Commission has recommended a “greater use of leverage” in the negotiation framework with Montenegro, focusing on the rule of law.

Albania, Macedonia making ‘progress’:

Macedonia, by comparison, signed an SAA far back in 2001, but its EU and NATO integration has been blocked by the dispute with Greece over its name.

After a year of political turbulence brought a new government to power, Macedonia hopes for a breakthrough this year in its stalled NATO and EU accession bids, provided a compromise is reached on the long-standing “name” dispute.

“Macedonia marks considerable progress. That was the focus that was determined yesterday in the strategy,” government spokesperson Mile Bosnjakovski said in Skopje on Wednesday.

He added that the Skopje government will continue to strive for a breakthrough in the dispute with Greece over its name.

Along with Macedonia, Albania is said also to be making “significant progress” on its European path.

The Commission said it is ready to prepare recommendations to open accession negotiations with both countries.

However, Albania has long had issues in implementing EU-required judicial reforms, which have delayed the opening of chapters in its membership negotiations.

Justice reform is related to the most important chapters and, if fully implemented, would help resolve other difficulties as well.

But the last EU Progress Report, from 2016, noted weaknesses in almost every field except defence where, as a NATO member, it is considered “Well Advanced”.

Out of about 40 indicators, Albania is considered in the “early stages” in five of them, at a “low level of preparedness” in 15, and “average” in 19.

Kosovo and Bosnia far behind in membership race:

Two other countries in the region, Kosovo and Bosnia, are further behind.

A dispute between Bosnia’s two entities, the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Serb-dominated Republika Srpska, has prevented the country from even completing the EU Questionnaire – which the European Commission will use to prepare an opinion on Bosnia’s application.

About 50 questions to do with political criteria appear to contain major problems, though this has not been officially confirmed.

Republika Srpska has meanwhile refused to recognise the data from the national census published in 2016, which is one of the problems with the questionnaire.

Besides that, Republika Srpska does not wish to take part in the country’s working groups on EU integration, claiming that they were not defined within the Coordination Mechanism, which is also seen as a reason why the questionnaire is not ready.

“We need to implement the reforms to create a better and safer society for all citizens, without anyone scoring political points,” the chairman of Bosnia’s Council of Ministers, Denis Zvizdic, told the news website Klix.ba.

Kosovo is even more left out of the process, mainly owing to continuing disputes over its independence, which Serbia and some other countries reject.

It signed an SAA in 2015, but it has still not met the EU criteria for visa liberalisation, after failing to ratify a border deal with Montenegro.

It is also not clear even if the country can launch EU membership negotiations, when it remains unrecognized by five EU member states – Greece, Cyprus, Romania, Slovakia and Spain.

The EU Strategy notes the need for a legally binding agreement to resolve relations with Serbia, which still claims Kosovo as part of its territory.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci complained on Facebook that the enlargement strategy does not provide Kosovo with any clarity about its European future.

“For well-known political reasons, unfortunately, this document has failed to present a perspective of inclusive and equal membership for all countries in the region. In particular, this strategy has failed to provide clarity for Kosovo's EU membership,” he said.
__________________
“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop, and you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all” - Mario Savio
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Old 02-07-2018, 06:55 PM   #5
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NOTE: Racial slurs have been edited, edits noted in Italic

http://greece.greekreporter.com/2018...us-for-skopje/

Hahn: Ending ‘Macedonia’ Dispute No Guarantee of EU Status for Macedonia

Even if the name row between the Republic of Macedonia and Greece was resolved, Macedonia would still not meet all the conditions for EU membership a senior European official has said.

Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, Johannes Hahn made the claim during a presentation of the EU’s Strategy for the Western Balkans in Strasbourg.

“In the first phase, there is no question of Macedonia's membership [of] the EU yet, but it is [at] an initial negotiation stage,” Hahn said in response to a question by the Athens-Macedonian News Agency (AMNA).

The EU commissioner said Macedonia has many more issues to resolve.

Macedonia must meet a large list of conditions and reforms that are essentially domestic affairs, such as reforming the justice system, its secret services legislation, and the mass media sector. The list is long. The package is big and they have a lot of work to do before an assumed membership,” he said
__________________
“There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part, you can’t even passively take part, and you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus and you’ve got to make it stop, and you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it, that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all” - Mario Savio
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Old 02-07-2018, 08:31 PM   #6
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http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/arti...ans-02-07-2018

EU Strategy Exacerbates Winner-Loser Divide in Balkans


...Many observers see the European Commission’s positive assessment of Serbia’s progress mainly as a tool to lure Belgrade closer to the EU and away from Russian influence...
I strongly believe that this is the driver of EU and NATO interest in the countries of the Western Balkans.
This is the ONLY reason a pissant like Montenegro was fast tracked into NATO and will be amongst the first of this group to gain EU membership as well.

If Macedonia wants to desperately join NATO and the EU they have chosen the wrong strategy.
Zaev's treasonous strategy of kissing Western butt and his shameless willingness to
sell down the river the Macedonian identity has highlighted his pathetic weakness as a leader and he will always be considered the path of least resistance in any negotiation with the greeks.

Gruevski was ultimately removed from power due to his posturing toward Moscow, Zaev should have continued building relations with Russia and played geo-politics to Macedonia's advantage...if both parties shared a common strategy, the West would have to rethink its treatment of Macedonia...instead he is nothing more than their puppet, willing to sell the farm to the lowest bidder.
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Old 02-11-2018, 06:24 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
I strongly believe that this is the driver of EU and NATO interest in the countries of the Western Balkans.
This is the ONLY reason a pissant like Montenegro was fast tracked into NATO and will be amongst the first of this group to gain EU membership as well.

If Macedonia wants to desperately join NATO and the EU they have chosen the wrong strategy.
Zaev's treasonous strategy of kissing Western butt and his shameless willingness to
sell down the river the Macedonian identity has highlighted his pathetic weakness as a leader and he will always be considered the path of least resistance in any negotiation with the greeks.

Gruevski was ultimately removed from power due to his posturing toward Moscow, Zaev should have continued building relations with Russia and played geo-politics to Macedonia's advantage...if both parties shared a common strategy, the West would have to rethink its treatment of Macedonia...instead he is nothing more than their puppet, willing to sell the farm to the lowest bidder.
Playing the west against the east strategy worked well for TITO and currently the Serbian gov is using a similar strategy with unknown long term results. If the Serbs weren't such rednecks and the macos weren't retarded I'd opt for these two countries to support each other and pivot to the east. Of course the CIA would start an Albanian rebellion. After what the Russians did in Syria I'd say fark NATO this ain't 1999.

Don't believe western media that Russia is evil. Russia is just an economic competitor and the west will try everything to eliminate competition.
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Old 02-11-2018, 06:40 AM   #8
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...Don't believe western media that Russia is evil. Russia is just an economic competitor and the west will try everything to eliminate competition.
Russia probably remains as the nation with the most economic and therefor military potential on the planet...forget China and India, Russia has massive untapped natural resources and wealth and if they can ever get their shit together, they pose the greatest challenge to US hegemony.
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