12 November 2014
Brussels ESI moderates discussion on Macedonia
Alexandra Stiglmayer (center)
Alexandra Stiglmayer (center)

ESI Senior Analyst Alexandra Stiglmayer moderated a discussion on "EU, Western Balkans and Regional Stability" with a focus on Macedonia, which was organised by the Hanns-Seidel-Stiftung in Brussels. On the panel were Nikola Poposki, Macedonia's Foreign Minister; Alexandra Cas Cranje, Director for Western Balkan countries at the European Commission's Directorate-General for Enlargement; MEP Alojz Peterle, Chair of the EP's Delegation to the EU-Macedonia Joint Parliamentary Committee; and MEP Andrej Plenkovic, Vice-Chair of the EP's Foreign Affairs Committee.

The discussion evolved around where Macedonia stood in the enlargement process – with Foreign Minister Poposki noting progress and continued strong commitment to EU accession, while Ms Cas-Cranje said Macedonia was backsliding on some political criteria, in particular media freedom and independence of the judiciary. All participants agreed that Greece's blockade of the start of accession negotiations due to the name dispute between the two countries was a major problem. ESI developed a proposal how to resolve the name issue already in 2012. Ms Cas-Cranje also mentioned the Commission's new focus on the economy, which was necessary since the Western Balkan countries had to develop their economies before they could join the EU. Alexandra said that a new approach to monitoring and evaluating progress in the accession process, which should be based on an elaboration of the key requirements and assessment criteria for each chapter of the acquis, could help reveal more clearly where Macedonia stood in the process and reinvigorate it.

Nikola Poposki, Foreign Minister of Macedonia
Nikola Poposki, Foreign Minister of Macedonia
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Alan Grant is an Irish photographer who travelled extensively in the Balkans and other countries and regions of the world. Thanks to him, ESI is able to show fascinating pictures of the Balkans: the facades of Tirana, the painted mosques of Travnik, the fabulous old houses of Plovdiv and the spectacular blue of water - dark in the Bay of Kotor, emerald in the river valleys of Bosnia, deep blue in Ohrid, twinkling in the Aegean Sea and on the Bosporus.

You can find out more about Alan Grant on his websites:
Jonathan Lewis lives between London and Istanbul. He moved to London and spent many years studying photography and now specialises in photojournalism, documentary photography and commercial work for a wide variety of private and commercial clients in the UK, Europe and Turkey. His work has appeared in a number of magazines and publications and is used on the ESI website as well.

You can find out more about Jonathan Lewis on his website www.jonathanlewisphoto.com