Policy Papers

European Integration of the Western Balkans: Making a Realistic Perspective out of a Shifting Target

The process of European integration has encountered several difficulties for the Western Balkan region and the signs of fatigue are everywhere. The European Union internal political dynamic is not helping. With the Brexit deadline fast approaching and the European elections that took place in May 2019, it is time for the Western Balkan countries to ’weather this storm’ together.

Cultural collaboration between Albania and Serbia and what can be done to use the potential in the future

Potential membership in the European Union (EU) is the main foreign policy priority of both countries. In accordance with its European orientation both Serbia and Albania are willing to prove their commitment to the promotion of regional cooperation. The initial step that should be undertaken is the establishment of cultural policy in order to bring freshness into the strained relations of the two countries.

Financial Cooperation between Albania and Serbia

The economic dimension of regional cooperation is a key pillar for achieving an interconnected and developed Western Balkan region. With this regard, strategic policy documents of Western Balkan countries, compiled in collaboration with EU Institutions, underline the objective of establishing a unified regional market in the Balkans. The South East Europe Strategy (SEE 2020), the central platform of economic cooperation in the Western Balkans, focuses on several shared projects in the areas of trade, tourism, transport and energy in order to foster the formation of the regional market.

Economic Cooperation between Albania and Serbia

The economic dimension of regional cooperation is a key pillar for achieving an interconnected and developed Western Balkan region. Due to the prolonged economic transition, the high unemployment, especially among the youngsters, and the consideration of WB6 countries as non-functioning market economies, the economic cooperation and integration pillar has in fact topped the agenda of the ‘Berlin Process’ and has consequently received the largest allocation of funds, when compared with the other two –diplomatic and soft- pillars. 

Regional Cooperation

Regional cooperation has constituted an important part of the overall EU policy with regard to EU accession of the Western Balkans. 

The question remains how regional cooperation can be enhanced between Albania and Serbia and the Western Balkan region in general given the existing mechanisms and institutions.

Energy Cooperation between Albania and Serbia

This policy brief addresses the current situation in each of the countries with regard to the energy sector and specifically to its components, including electricity, natural gas, oil and renewable energy. Another part of the policy brief discusses the conditions of regional and European network cooperation in energy policy given the role of international organizations, existing energy international projects that have an impact on the two countries’ ‘energy package’ as well as in the region.

Trade Relations between Albania and Serbia

Serbia and Albania are the two largest countries of the Western Balkans and in the same time they exert a major political influence in the region. As such, the relations between these two countries are instrumental for the stability and the future integration of the region into the EU. In this context, the trade relationship between Serbia and Albania will play a crucial role to the further consolidation of the fragile political ties between both countries. 

Tourism Cooperation between Albania and Serbia

Tourism is a powerful tool to bring different countries together. By better knowing one another, people of different cultures and backgrounds will find it much harder to generate feelings of hatred and animosity against each other. Thus, the consolidation of interaction in the area of tourism between Serbia and Albania is very important for the further stabilization of the relations between the countries, since it will not only trigger better economic prospects but it will also positively change the perception that both nations have towards each other.

Transport Linkages between Albania and Serbia

Being for quite a long time on the periphery of empires and characterized as a backward region, what is now termed as Western Balkans, manifests existing drawbacks in terms of connectivity with the broader European network of routes, railways, and ports. Despite various differences in terms of infrastructure development and investment, most of the Western Balkan region lags behind compared to other regions or countries in the European Union.

Albania-Serbia relations in the eyes of the Albanian Public 2015

This survey, which has also served to launch our center, is the first step in assessing the currentstate of relations as perceived by citizens of Albania. The photography of citizens’ perceptions is valuable not only as a window to more information about evaluations, myths and misunderstandings but also as a way to measure what expectations about the future of these relations are.

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