Gloomy times ahead, but hope dies last: Greece’s way forward after the referendum

More than 60% of Greeks rejected an outdated and expired rescue package offered to Greece by its European partners. Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras’ strategy for an “all in” at the negotiation table worked, at least for now. His government can now claim that Greeks are tired of austerity and need growth. While all reasonable observes would agree that it is growth that Greece needs, the country is at the brink. However, also the Eurozone is facing its worst crisis since it started to exist in 1999. Continue reading “Gloomy times ahead, but hope dies last: Greece’s way forward after the referendum”

Macedonia’s way to an illiberal democracy

Macedonia’s accession process to the European Union (EU) is ever more under threat. It is not only the name issue with Greece, but it is the internal development inside the country that is much more worrying. As the latest report of the European Commission at the end of October shows, Macedonia is not progressing but is taking a couple of steps backwards. Continue reading “Macedonia’s way to an illiberal democracy”

Serbia on the way from a pariah state to become part of the union

ImageIt can go quickly when all parties involved are cooperative and the political will is there. On Tuesday, the Council of the EU decided that accession talks with Serbia would start on 21 January 2014. This decision was based on a very positive report by EU High Representative Catherine Ashton. Back in March 2012, the EU granted Serbia candidate status. Since the historic agreement in April 2013 that allowed for a breakthrough between Belgrade and Pristina, most of the EU demands are fulfilled. Thus, Serbia has the green light to negotiate with the EU and become a full-fledged member of the union. Finally, Serbia will not be the pariah state of Europe but rather help to move Europe as a whole forward. A difficult and long process will start. Continue reading “Serbia on the way from a pariah state to become part of the union”

A peaceful second attempt by Kosovo’s ethnic Serbs

ImageA week ago, on 17 November 2013, ethnic Serbs in the northern part of Kosovo went to the polls – just another time. The first attempt, two weeks earlier, to organize local elections were marked by violence in Mitrovica and consequently were suspended and annulled there. Tear gas and smashed ballot boxes showed the dismay of some of the approx. 40,000 ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo. These municipal elections became necessary because of the landmark deal between Kosovo and Serbia under the auspices of the EU in April 2013. Serbia agreed to the deal because membership talks to join the union were guaranteed by that and eventually the county can join the “European club”. Continue reading “A peaceful second attempt by Kosovo’s ethnic Serbs”

Europe’s anti-EU right-extremist parties try to unite

(c) Flickr/dominik.sipinski
(c) Flickr/dominik.sipinski

European extreme right-wing parties try to unite just another time. This time around it is the Austrian “Freedom Party”, the Dutch “PVV” of Wilders, the Flemish “Vlaams Belang”, French “Front National”, the Italian “Lega Nord”, and the “Swedish Democrats” that might unite under one umbrella. It is just another attempt that racist and backward anti-EU movements want to become one force to stop European integration.

Continue reading “Europe’s anti-EU right-extremist parties try to unite”