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IMG_makedonia

  Following an eventful June, Montenegro is in NATO, Macedonia is out Brussels’ doghouse and Albania’s pro-EU government has a new-mandate. Kosovo’s government is more of a mystery. And Serbia’s government is now being led by an openly gay woman — a development seen by many as a mere facelift.   While the Western Balkans made significant steps toward Euro-Atlantic integration, major ethnic-related issues remain unresolved and largely unaddressed. One such issue is the future of Albanians living outside of Albania.   The rosy picture is that the entire Western Balkans will integrate into the EU and possibly NATO. Borders will be abolished and rival ethnic groups will live peacefully and prosperously together, enjoying freedom of movement across the region and beyond.   That vision is coming into fruition very slowly,

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zaev

In a parliamentary election full of twists and turns, a Macedonian party led by a former prime minister now under criminal investigation eked out a victory and picked up just enough seats to return to power. The result will likely prolong Macedonia’s political crisis, but it could signal the small Balkan state is climbing out of the European Union’s doghouse and is remaining on the path toward Euro-Atlantic integration.   Former prime Minister Nikola Gruevski’s VMRO DPMNE party entered Sunday’s election as the clear frontrunner. Gruevski and VMRO ruled Macedonia for nearly a decade until, in January, the premier resigned under an EU-brokered agreement. Though Gruevski and many of his former government officials are currently being probed by a special prosecutor, VMRO amassed considerable popularity and control over Macedonian institutions