EU divided over new members, Western Balkans said at summit


Additionally, Russia denies interference with gas prices, Turkey ratifies the Paris Agreement, and more.

The big story: EU-Western Balkans summit fails to meet membership schedule

What happened: The day Mountain peak which took place yesterday at Brdo Castle in Slovenia did not provide concrete dates for the EU membership of Western balkan country, reports Deutsche Welle. “Quite frankly, there is a discussion among the 27 about our ability to welcome new members,” said EU Council President Charles Michel, who chairs the EU leaders’ meetings.

More context: A sign of progress has come in the form of a 9 billion euros economic investment plan for the six countries of the Western Balkans. Having responded to EU reform demands, Albania and North Macedonia await an invitation to launch their accession negotiations.

To note: Bulgaria said he could stop blocking North Macedonia application for EU membership, on condition that Skopje ceases its “subtle erasure” of its ethnic Bulgarians, reports BIRN. Bulgaria disagreed with North Macedonia on a number of issues concerning language, identity and culture.

News from the regions

Central Europe and Baltic States

  • Prime Minister Andrej Babis is in the running for four more years in office as Czech Republic getting ready for parliamentary elections this Friday and Saturday, reports the BBC. Babis’ ANO party faces two opposition coalitions: Spolu (Ensemble), which is a group of three Conservative and Christian Democrats; and PirStan, a coalition between the Pirate Party, already in charge of Prague, and the popular movement Stan. “The Czech Republic is at a crossroads, between old and new, east and west if you prefer,” according to Ludek Stanek, commentator and comedian, who says that one of the main concerns of the electorate is to be “pushed more into the Russian sphere.”
  • Estonia signed an agreement with Israel for a missile defense system, but the cost is kept secret, reports the Baltic Times. The contract with Advanced Proteus Systems, a joint venture of Israel Aerospace Industries and ST Engineering Land Systems, is for the Blue lance 5G SSM land-sea missile system. According to the contract, the first defense systems are expected to arrive in Estonia by the end of 2023. Defense Minister Kalle Laanet said yesterday that Tallinn had earmarked more than € 100 million for the development of coastal defense capabilities, adding that a “sufficient” number of systems have been purchased, without going into detail.

South Eastern Europe

  • Recent cases of femicide put in case domestic violence problems in Montenegro, reports BIRN. In the southern town of Tuzi, protests erupted after teenage Sheila Bakia was killed by her husband. Tuzi mayor Nik Gjeloshaj spoke out against the state prosecutor’s office for failing to protect young women from domestic violence, saying Bakia reported her husband to authorities after receiving death threats , but the state prosecutor’s office in Podgorica did not see this as a criminal Offence. Thousands of people in the neighbors Albania also held rallies last month following the murder of a 23-year-old woman by her ex-husband.

Eastern Europe and Russia

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Europe was responsible for the current gas crisis, reports AFP. Gas prices in Europe and the UK rose over 25% yesterday in part due to growing demand ahead of winter. In a meeting with Russian energy officials, Putin said Europe had “made mistakes”, adding that one of the factors driving the price increase was the end of “long-term contracts” in favor of the spot market. Putin’s spokesperson Dmitry Peskov also denied the blame, saying that “Russia does not and cannot play a role in what is happening in the European gas market”. The price increases have led to allegations that Russia is restricting gas supplies to speed up the launch of the Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Russia and Germany.
  • The mayor of Odessa was charged with the illegal acquisition of several land in the Ukrainian Black Sea port, RFE / RL reports. Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova said Hennadiy Trukhanov and four other men had been officially informed of the charges; she did not identify the other suspects. Venediktova said it was a “very important case” not only for the Odessa region but for the whole country, adding that “Odessa has never been a simple place, and it would be naive to think that cases are generally studied there as everywhere else. “Trukhanov was the subject of Corruption and embezzlement allegations, including membership of an organized criminal group, in the past.

The Caucasus

  • After a seven-year hiatus, Azerbaijan use it Armenian airspace again, reports OC Media. Via a Facebook post yesterday, Azerbaijan Airlines announced the resumption of flights through Armenian airspace between Baku and the Azerbaijani enclave of Nakhichevan. While the last time an Azerbaijani civilian flight used Armenian airspace was in 2014, the Armenian Civil Aviation Committee said there was no ban on such flights in above Armenian territory, with the exception of autumn 2020 when fighting resumes in Nagorno-Karabakh. Journalist and political analyst Tatul Hakobyan said the resumption of flights could be a signal for Iran amid a recent rise in tensions between Baku and Tehran.

Central Asia

  • The success of a Uzbek soccer player who has reached one of the best leagues in Europe inspires young people in his home country, reports Eurasianet. In August, Eldor Shomurodov scored his first goal for the AS Rome Italian against Turks Trabozonspor in a qualifying match for the UEFA Europa League. Football is an attractive career prospect for Uzbek athletes. The players of the first club of Uzbekistan, Pakhtakor, receive annual salaries of about $ 15,000 plus about $ 100,000 in performance-based bonuses, according to revelations published in Russian media in June and cited by Eurasianet.

Borders

  • Turkey ratified on Paris climate agreement six years after it was signed, CNN reports, though lawmakers protested a detail of the deal that called Turkey a developed country. From tweets by Turkish Minister of Environment and Urbanization Murat Kurum, lawmakers voted unanimously in favor of ratifying the deal, and Kurum said he hoped it would help the country achieve net zero – which means that the amount of greenhouse gases emitted is not more than the amount removed from the atmosphere – by 2053. Yet the Turkish parliament also adopted a declaration saying that Turkey has ratified it ‘agreement as Developing countries instead of a developed system, and would only implement it as long as it does not “infringe his right to economic and social development”.

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