Who Summons the Dragon? China’s demand-driven influence in Central-Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans

A political and economic regional comparison

Based on a mixed-method methodology cross-cutting the political/economical divide, our latest brief shows that while China wants to increase its economic and political influence in the region, there is a significant difference between the story we hear and the facts we see. Despite China’s efforts to leverage vulnerabilities in the region, its political influence seems to be still relatively low. Economic influence by itself cannot match Western economic ties either. Political engagement with China is shaped mostly by domestic factors and geopolitical considerations, particularly those related to security.

The Western Balkans in need for change. A wake-up call for Europe!

The coronavirus pandemic deepens vulnerabilities of the Western Balkan countries and exposes the weakness of state institutions in the region, especially in the health sector and with regards to social protection. At the same time, and related to the rather limited effectiveness of the EU enlargement process over the past years, the implementation of reforms has stagnated and some countries even experienced concerning regressions of the rule of law.

On behalf of the WB2EU network co-funded by the European Commission under its Erasmus+ Jean Monnet programme (www.wb2eu.eu)

 

Risks and Vulnerabilities in the Western Balkans

The six countries in the Western Balkans region – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia vary to a degree in their Euro-Atlantic affiliations. Functional and structural weaknesses within these countries open doors for foreign hostile actors to project their influence on the WB public.

Eastern Focus Call For Contributions: The World After Tomorrow

Eastern Focus digital quarterly is launching a call for contributions to its fourth issue, dedicated to exploring The World After Tomorrow (i.e. how will the world change after COVID-19?) from a regional perspective. The whole issue will be framed around disruption/disruptive glocal trends (political, economical, geopolitical) and aims to anticipate the parameters of the post-pandemic new normal and their impact on the broader region. Articles that are focused on the structural trends with a long-term impact are prioritised.

The nationalisation of EU enlargement. North Macedonia after yet another ‘no!’

By Zoran Nechev and Ivan Nikolovski | Skopje

In February 2018, the European Commission published its communiqué ‘A Credible Enlargement Perspective for and Enhanced EU Engagement with the Western Balkans’. The document offered an incentive to the countries of the region, especially to those that are already in the negotiation process such as Montenegro and Serbia.

To be or not to be – the case for Serbia’s European integration

By Srdjan Majstorović | Belgrade

The European Commission published its Country Report for Serbia in May 2019 assessing the country’s progress in the past year: it portrays a confusing picture of a country that is perceived as a frontrunner in the EU accession process, has been involved in accession negotiations since 2014, and which yet obviously lacks any drive to reform, ambition, capacities, and most importantly the results that could prove its advanced status.