garretmartinThe agreement signed between Kosovo and Serbia on 19th April was a stunning and major breakthrough; a significant compromise that opens the possibility of a normalization of relations for the two former belligerents and could unlock their accession path to the European Union. It was yet another vindication of the constructive and leading role played by the EU in the Balkans for over a decade, in stark contrast with the traumatic failures of the 1990s. Thus, even during the Eurozone turmoil, the EU can still remain a major diplomatic player. It was also a very sweet moment for the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Catherine Ashton, who played an instrumental role in mediating the negotiations between Pristina and Belgrade. That accord will not be easy to implement, and will face some resistance. But it could prove a game changer in the Balkans, providing new momentum to the stalling process of reform in the various countries in the region and to their road to EU accession.

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armensahakyanphotoIn today’s globalized economy, many smaller states can no longer compete in the world market on their own. The formation of economic-political blocs provides a competitive edge by combining national economies into stronger and deeper regional partnerships. For some states however, the conundrum is figuring out which bloc best serves their long-term national interests.

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By Dan Mahoney, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

Top leaders from Serbia and Kosovo have had significant bilateral meetings in Brussels recently, raising some faint glimmers of hope for progress toward a more constructive relationship between the two former combatants. 

 

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By Armen Sahakyan, European Affairs Editorial Assistant

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the commencement of Nagorno Karabakh uprising, which continues as an unresolved major conflict in the Caucasus.

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By Ryan Barnes, Senior Trade Specialist at U.S. Dept. of Commerce

The world was watching as voters hit the polls on November 25th in the most important regional elections in Catalonia since the return of democracy in Spain. Seen by many as a referendum on Catalan independence, the election created more questions than answers.

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