EU enlargement and neighbourhood

Three factors contributing to the worsening of Russian-Turkish relations

21.05.2021. - Bálint Pongrácz

Turkey and Russia are unlikely allies, having waged wars for the better part of their history, it is a rare sight to see the two powers fraternising. The year 2015 has foreshadowed no different, first Turkey shot down a Russian warplane and then Russian Ambassador Andrei Karlov was assassinated in Ankara less than a year later. Although this historic low point in the relationship passed with no direct confrontation we can only see very limited cooperation in its aftermath.

It is the intention of this policy observer to introduce three further factors that contribute to the worsening of Russo-Turkish relations in 2021. 

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Western Balkans at the door: The new enlargement package

09.10.2020. - Aron James Miszlivetz

On the 6th of October, the new Enlargement Package was presented by Commissioner Várhelyi which include the progress of reforms of the Western Balkan countries. In one way, this is seen as a milestone which will decide the future relationship of the EU and its Southern neighborhood.  While candidate countries long for a membership in the European club, the future with Turkey is developing towards a different path. What does this new situation mean for the region? How motivated will the candidate countries be to follow reforms, and are there any leading candidates that can push the region towards a deeper European integration?

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Macro-financial assistance in challenging times:

The EU in Ukraine

02-06-2020 - Aron James Miszlivetz

In May 2020, the EU disbursed the first tranche of 500 million euros of the fourth macro-financial assistance program to Ukraine, making it a total of 3.8 billion euros of financial assistance. The first financial support was implemented by the 2002 Council decision however, the biggest sum was provided between April and July 2015 under the most controversial 3rd MFA program. Ukraine, as the biggest beneficiary received a total of 3.8-billion-euro loan since the start of the program in 2014. Why is macro-financial assistance and their sound management so important for partner countries?

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External remedy for a pandemic:

Supporting the Eastern Partnership

01-05-2020 - Aron James Miszlivetz

While the EU still grapples with the effects of the pandemic, its immediate neighborhood faces even more challenging times. The countries with less developed economies are facing hybrid challenges such as disinformation coupled with social tensions, border conflicts and integration issues. The remnants of the past are still looming in the form of the political landscape in Belarus and Nagorno-Karabakh, the issues of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the situation in Transnistria or the ongoing war in the Donbass region with the illegal annexation of Crimea. As post-independence conflicts weigh in on the Eastern Partnership countries, the coronavirus crisis further challenges the socio-economic resilience of these countries. How can the EU’s response help its direct neighborhood?

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Reimagining European enlargement:

A new way forward?

13-03-2020 - Aron James Miszlivetz

The 2019 European Council conclusions stated that member states are fully committed towards the enlargement of the Western Balkans with special regards to North Macedonia and Albania and to make a decisive decision by October 2019. In 2020 the EU faces new challenges in its southern neighborhood where it needs to strengthen its political, economic and security commitments. Therefore the European Commission released a revised enlargement methodology which means the two candidate countries will need to adapt to new measures. At the same time the enlargement process includes reversible effects to which can change the appetite for joining the European club. The new Hungarian Commissioner for Enlargement was ambitious in setting concrete goals, while also pushing member states towards greater support. Hungary has been providing assistance regarding the implementation for reforms in the form of „integration experts” who work closely with the host country’s government. For Hungary, the Western Balkans enlargement is not only of economic importance, but also holds implications geopolitically, security-wise including minority rights. Overall, a successful strategy can strengthen competitiveness not only on a regional, but EU-wide level.

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