“The US has an enduring interest in preventing Europe from falling under a potentially hostile hegemon”

Secretary of Defense James N. Mattis announces the National Defense Strategy at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, Jan. 19. (DoD photo by Navy Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Kathryn E. Holm)

Interview with Elbridge Colby, Director of the Defense Program at the Center for a New American Security. He was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy and Force Development from 2017 to 2018, during which time he served as the lead official in the development of the 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) and the DOD’s principal representative in the development of the 2017 National Security Strategy (NSS).

“The EU accession process is a coaching exercise to transform North Macedonia into a proper European democracy”

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Interview Nikola Dimitrov, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Republic of North Macedonia.
You have reached a historic agreement with your Greek counterparts on the name issue. But has it come at the wrong time for the EU? There seems to be a sense of panic in Brussels that whatever is to happen about the Western Balkans needsto happen before the European elections or it may not happen at all, if the populists and nationalists register significant wins. Are you going to have enough support from within the EU as you implement the reform process?

Time to learn from what has worked

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By Kristof Bender | Vienna

The EU accession process can inspire reforms, increase prosperity, strengthen democracy and help transform the politics of the Western Balkans. In order to achieve this, it needs to be credible and fair. It needs to provide clear guidance to politicians, inspire civil servants and help them to focus, and signal to civil society where a country stands in any given area of reform. Currently the EU accession process does not achieve this.

Europe’s blind spot: the streets rising up against local autocrats

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By Ana Maria Luca | Bucharest

In mid-February thousands of opposition supporters clashed with police in an anti-government rally against Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama’s cabinet, demanding its resignation and early elections. Although Albania is set to start its accession negotiations with the European Union, Rama’s rule has backtracked in terms of democracy and the fight against corruption and organised crime.

“A time of monsters once more”: The danger of losing the Western Balkans

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By Jasmin Mujanović | North Carolina

“How does Slobodan Milošević’s will begin?” asks a Serbian joke from the 1990s. “In the unlikely event of my death…”

As the anti-regime protests in Serbia enter their third month, that sardonic quip captures much of the mood on the streets of Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac and dozens of other towns across the country. For weeks, thousands have been airing their grievances against the increasingly autocratic government of Aleksandar Vučić and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), often by drawing direct parallels between the current president and the former strongman, under whose tenure the former served as Minister of Information.

Orbán as an export product– and the high demand in South-East Europe!

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Interview Dimitar Bechev (North Carolina)

Interview with Dimitar Bechev, research fellow at the Center for Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and non- resident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council. In 2017, he published “Rival Power. Russia’s Influence in South- East Europe” at Yale University Press.