Global RiskNews Briefs

EU, Western Balkans leaders meet amid fears of Russian influence

The European Union and Western Balkans leaders met in the Albanian capital Tirana for a summit to reassure the region of a future amid fears of increasing Russian and Chinese influence. The leaders of Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia have expressed concern that negotiations have not started or have stalled involving their eventual EU membership. 

Member states are reluctant to enlarge the EU, however Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed them to consider bringing the Western Balkans closer to the bloc. In a first step toward integration, telecommunications operators from the EU and leaders from the six Western Balkan countries signed a deal to cut data roaming charges beginning in October 2023. Kosovo is expected to submit its application for EU membership by the end of the year. Serbia has also stated that it is on the path to the EU. The goal of the EU is to provide greater stability to the region along with denying Moscow the ability to cause trouble in the region.

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OODA Analyst

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