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,


  Today, Saturday, April 29, 2017, is Donald Trump’s 100th day in office and following tradition since the presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1932-1945), Americans seek to understand what their new president has accomplished and what he has not judged against his campaign promises. Against that often flexible standard, Trump has failed to deliver on his number one promise – to repeal and replace Obamacare, his predecessor’s proudest legislative achievement, but has accomplished his second most important campaign promise – to nominate and have confirmed by the Senate a conservative judge to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS). Moreover, as we neared the end of this period, there are unmistakable signs that the republican majority in Congress is close to reaching an agreement on  replacing Obamacare with GOP


Early in 2017, headlines speculating about the possible outbreak of renewed war in the Balkans have popped up in the international press. Tensions that have been simmering in the Western Balkans in recent years are now gaining increasing attention in the sphere of geopolitics, particularly as they relate to the battle between the West and Russia for influence in the region. The West is now becoming increasingly concerned that Russia will stoke nationalism in the Balkans in order to ignite conflict, cause destabilization and consequentially halt Euro-Atlantic expansion.   While ethnic tensions are a core and explosive issue in the region, economic productivity, or lack thereof, may be as responsible if not more for the instability that exists in the Western Balkans. The region’s poor economic prospects have much to

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More parties and politicians are identifying themselves as spokespersons incarnating Bulgaria’s national interest. Holding a pivotal position in the political mainstream and wrapped in in the national flag, politicians can easily marginalize political opponents. At the surface of things, the motives are idealistic, as all politicians swear to be Bulgarophiles, although a close-up look shows they fail to separate the Bulgarian interest from that of other countries – Russia Turkey.   The public debate pertaining to the essence of national interest does not distinguish between the different faces of Bulgaria, Russia or Turkey – that of the homos politicus or the political elite, the people of culture, that of the homos economicus, the commoners, etc. The generic notion for Russia for example includes both its past and present, as the


For 25 years, Ukraine has been the pupil and Europe the teacher. Now, the roles have reversed, and it’s time for Europe to learn from Ukraine.   These are tough times for Europe. The United Kingdom has separated, and several other countries may soon join it. The Eurozone is a mess, and the economies of many EU states remain sluggish. Political violence is becoming almost quotidian, corruption is on the rise, and Vladimir Putin’s Russia is flexing its muscles, rattling sabers, and threatening to use its nuclear weapons.   These are all threats that Ukraine has experienced, and coped with, in the last three years. Indeed, since 2014’s Euromaidan Revolution, which swept the corrupt Yanukovych regime from power, Ukraine has had to deal with several simultaneous crises — war with

Photo: Wikimedia Commons/ CGP Grey

  By now it is well-known that EU commissioner for competition, Margrethe Vestager, a leftist politician since the age of 21 with zero private sector experience, has imposed a stunning $14.5 billion fine on Apple for allegedly receiving state aid from Ireland. Apple, and the potential beneficiary of this large sum of money, Ireland, have blasted the EU verdict as illegal and threatened to appeal. Separately, the United States government has attacked the decision as discriminatory to U.S. companies and accused the EU in a recent US Treasury paper of “targeting US companies disproportionately.” To the west of the Atlantic divide, opinion seemed to see the reason for this inordinate fine in European bias against the US tech giants due to envy. Indeed, a recent column in the Wall Street Journal


Special to     The transition and the integration of Eastern Europe was so problematic that at some point it became inevitable for the West to decide to make a deal with „the real” politicians there – in other words with the communist elites. Let’s not forget that Europe’s engine – Germany – was out of this game, overwhelmed with its own reunification. The US was represented through the international financial institutions which chose to focus on the fiscal and debt issues and not so much on long-term strategy. Their preoccupation was the debt payment moratorium. The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 itself, although a logical and planned process, was not preceded by too many years of building a stable alternative in Bulgaria – an opposition capable of