Western Balkan Countries in Austria | Bilateral Relations

Austria and the Western Balkans as a Region (Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia). See also each country individually.

20 Years of EU Enlargement: Austria Looks at the Success Story of European Integration

Exactly 20 years ago, on May 1, 2004, a historic enlargement of the European Union came into force. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Cyprus became member states, marking the beginning of a new chapter in the history of Europe. This fifth round of enlargement marked a milestone for the countries involved and a significant change for Austria, as Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and the Austrian Society for European Politics emphasize.

May 5, 2024

Vienna National Defense Academy to Host Regional Strategy Course for the Western Balkans

The "Regional Strategic Leadership Course" is part of a larger initiative launched in 2018 to promote cooperation between the defense ministries of Austria, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia.

April 30, 2024

Vienna to Host the "TRATOLOW" Climate Conference for the Western Balkans and Turkey

In a crucial meeting in Vienna today, leading climate and environmental representatives from the Western Balkans, Turkey and the EU discussed strategies to tackle climate change. Organized by the Austrian Ministry for Climate Action, the EU Department for Climate Action and the Austrian Environment Agency, the conference focused on the TRATOLOW project, which aims to achieve a sustainable climate transition in these regions.

April 29, 2024

Slovakia Takes the Helm of ICPDR Presidency

In the annual transition for the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR), Slovakia has officially taken over the presidency from Serbia, marking the beginning of a year dedicated to enhancing the health and sustainability of the Danube River Basin.

April 9, 2024

Focus on Closer Cooperation and EU Enlargement: C5 Foreign Ministers Meet in Ljubljana

The foreign ministers of the so-called Central 5 Group (C5) - consisting of Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Hungary, and Slovakia - met in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, for a landmark meeting. This meeting marks another significant step in Central European diplomatic cooperation, which goes beyond mere neighborly assistance and focuses on the region's key challenges and opportunities.

March 26, 2024

Serbian Investor Plans Entry into Austrian Addiko Bank

A new investor is showing interest in Addiko Bank, a financial institution that emerged from the former Hypo Alpe Adria Balkan banks. The Cypriot company Agri Europe Cyprus, which is attributed to Serbian businessman Miodrag Kostić, is planning to acquire a significant stake in the bank.

March 25, 2024

Europe at Crossroads: Austria's Push for Bosnia's EU Accession Negotiations

In a new phase of European integration and geopolitical strategy, attention is turning to the Western Balkans, particularly Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the heart of these discussions is Austria's committed plea for the opening of accession negotiations with Bosnia, a move that has the potential to shape Europe's political landscape in the long term.

March 19, 2024

Future of EU Enlargement Discussed in Vienna: Unified Vision Required

An event in Vienna, organized by the ERSTE Foundation in cooperation with the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), focused on the debate about the future of EU enlargement. Under the title "Beyond Catch-27: How to make EU enlargement work?", leading experts from various fields gathered to discuss the challenges and opportunities of integrating new member states into the European Union.

March 7, 2024

Austria and Italy Chief Diplomats Visit Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Foreign Ministers of Austria, Alexander Schallenberg, and Italy, Antonio Tajani, undertook a joint trip to Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, to support the country in its efforts to join the EU. This trip underlines the continued commitment of the European Union, in particular Austria and Italy, to the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU.

March 5, 2024

Increased Security Cooperation Between Austria and Romania

In a sign of solidarity and joint commitment to peace and security in Europe, Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner received her Romanian counterpart Angel Tîlvăr for bilateral talks in Vienna.

February 25, 2024

Austria and Montenegro Strengthen Relations: EU Accession by 2028 in Sight

During an official visit to Vienna by Montenegrin President Jakov Milatović, Austria's Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen emphasized the importance of Western Balkan integration into the EU, with Montenegro leading the way. Given the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, a "realistic prospect of accession" for these countries is now "more important than ever".

February 8, 2024

Austria's Ministry of Defense Warns of Global Risks

In a time of global uncertainty, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Defense has presented the "Risikobild 2024 - World out of joint". The presentation at the Raiffeisen Forum, led by Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner, aimed to shed light on the security policy challenges at the national and international level for the coming twelve to 18 months.

January 29, 2024

Austria in EU Council: Focus on Finance, Migration and Geopolitical Stability

After two intensive days of negotiations, the European Council in Brussels came to an end on Friday evening. The EU member states set new priorities for the EU budget, discussed future EU enlargements, and took a stand on current geopolitical issues. Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer supported these steps.

December 26, 2023

Evolution of Serbian Elections: From Socialist Yugoslavia to Democratic Transition

The history of elections in Serbia, particularly during and after World War II, is a compelling illustration of the nation's political evolution. Read more about the history and the recent election in Serbia!

December 19, 2023

International Observers Highlight Concerns in Serbia's Early Parliamentary Elections

In Serbia's early parliamentary elections, held amidst a politically and socially divided landscape, international observers have raised significant concerns about the fairness and integrity of the electoral process. The OSCE and the European Parliament expressed their criticism. The elections were marked by overwhelming advantages for the ruling party and the dominant involvement of the President, overshadowing the technical efficiency of the voting process.

December 19, 2023

Discussion in Austria's Parliament on Security Policy Concerning Ukraine and Israel

In the run-up to the European Council, Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg met in Parliament to discuss current security policy challenges.

December 13, 2023

Increased Military Cooperation Between Austria and Bosnia-Herzegovina

Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner met her Bosnian counterpart Zukan Helez in Bosnia and Herzegovina for bilateral talks. This meeting, which was part of Tanner's troop visits to the Western Balkans, was aimed at deepening relations between the two countries and further developing existing cooperation.

December 12, 2023

Strengthening Transatlantic Relations: USA and Austria Engage in Strategic Dialogue

The United States and the Republic of Austria held their annual strategic dialogue in Vienna to deepen bilateral cooperation and emphasize shared values.

December 6, 2023

Focus on Strengthening External Border Protection: Meeting of Interior Ministers in Szeged

At a meeting in Szeged, Hungary, interior ministers from the Visegrád 4 states (Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Czech Republic), Austria and Germany emphasized the need for robust protection of the EU's external borders and a reform of EU migration policy. The Austrian police are heavily involved in the Balkans to control migration and combat organized smuggling.

December 3, 2023

Austria-Albania: Focus on Strengthening Relations and EU Integration

Recent meetings between Austrian and Albanian foreign ministers have emphasized the deepened cooperation between the two countries, especially in the context of EU enlargement and regional stability.

November 20, 2023

Kosovo's Challenges and Progress under Prime Minister Albin Kurti

The head of government of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, was a guest at the Renner Institute in Vienna to talk about the challenges facing his country. Under the title "Kosovo: The young democratic state as a pawn of geopolitical interests", he not only took stock of his time in government so far in conversation with Director Maria Maltschnig but also explored the question of how his country can survive amidst the conflicting interests of geopolitical players.

November 16, 2023

Austria Takes Over Chairmanship of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region

November 1, 2023, marks the beginning of an important phase for Austria as it takes over the presidency of the EU Strategy for the Danube Region (EUSDR). This key region, which stretches from the Black Forest to the Black Sea and encompasses around 115 million people, faces a multitude of challenges. The country is taking over this task from Slovenia and will be in charge until December 31, 2024.

October 24, 2023

Berlin Process Summit in Tirana: Western Balkans on the Way to the EU

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg attended the Berlin Process Summit in Tirana on behalf of Chancellor Karl Nehammer. The necessary reforms and progress in the EU enlargement of the six Western Balkan states were discussed. Foreign Minister Schallenberg again advocated his model of gradual integration.

October 18, 2023

Future of the Western Balkans in the EU: Rapprochement Despite Tensions

In recent years, the Western Balkans have increasingly become the focus of EU accession talks. The Berlin Process, a 2014 initiative of the German government, created a format that promotes regional cooperation in the Western Balkans and supports the countries' rapprochement with the EU.

October 10, 2023

Tensions Between Kosovo and Serbia: Is a New Conflict Looming?

The recent incident has renewed tensions between Kosovo and Serbia, raising fears of a possible armed conflict in the region. The situation in Kosovo appears to be calming, but the state of affairs remains incomprehensible to many.

October 3, 2023

Central European Foreign Ministers of the "Central 5" Discuss OSCE, Ukraine, and Migration

The foreign ministers of the "Central 5" (C5) - Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Slovenia - met in Vienna to discuss current security policy and neighborhood issues. Host Alexander Schallenberg stressed the importance of the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) as a pan-European platform for dialogue, especially in light of the challenges posed by Russia's attack on Ukraine and the need to keep the OSCE alive. During the meeting, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijártó repeatedly irritated the participants.

October 1, 2023

Austria Advocates Accelerated EU Integration of the Western Balkans

Austria's Minister of European Affairs Karoline Edtstadler and Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg show a profound commitment to the integration of the Western Balkan countries into the European Union (EU). They recently sent concrete proposals in a letter and a "non-paper" to EU External Relations Commissioner Josep Borrell and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi. The central theme of these proposals is to accelerate the enlargement process and clarify the agenda for 2024 and beyond.

September 27, 2023

Three Seas Initiative Summit Concludes with Resounding Commitments and Strong Support for Ukraine

During the 8th edition of the Three Seas Initiative Summit, the prestigious halls of the Cotroceni Palace welcomed Central and Eastern European leaders. This gathering was a demonstration of unity and determination against a backdrop of increasing geopolitical tension. On this same occasion, the President of Austria stressed support for Ukraine and the common fight against global warming.

September 20, 2023

Danube Ports in Ukraine in Focus of Russian Attacks

International tensions over Ukraine are having an increasing impact on Danube ports in the region. The Vienna-based International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) expressed concern about repeated Russian aggression against Ukrainian ports along the river, particularly in Reni and Izmail.

September 3, 2023

Bosnia and Herzegovina Strengthens Cooperation with Austria on Security Issues and Asylum Policy

In Vienna, the Minister of Security of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nenad Nešić, and the Austrian Minister of Interior, Gerhard Karner, met to discuss future cooperation and joint management of security challenges. Further joint action against illegal migration and strengthening of regional security were discussed.

August 29, 2023

Conference in Zagreb: Austria and Croatia Strengthen Diplomatic Relations

The annual conference of Croatian ambassadors, consuls general, consuls, and military plenipotentiaries was held in Zagreb. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg was invited as a guest speaker, who was welcomed by his Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlić-Radman.

August 28, 2023

Foreign Ministers of Slavkov Format Countries Hold Talks with Key Political Actors in North Macedonia

Foreign Ministers Jan Lipavský, Miroslav Wlachovský, and Alexander Schallenberg held talks with representatives of the government, parliament, and parliamentary opposition in Northern Macedonia. The aim of the ministers' visit within the framework of the Slavkov format countries was to support North Macedonia on its way to the European Union and to listen to the views of key political actors.

July 16, 2023

Viennese International Economic Institute: Growth in Eastern Europe Weaker than Expected

The Central and Eastern European EU member states recorded weaker economic growth in the first quarter of this year, according to a recent study by the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW).

July 6, 2023

Security Review Conference Convened by OSCE Chairpersonship

The OSCE Chairpersonship organized the Security Review Conference in 2023 to address the security crisis and promote multilateral engagement. High-level representatives gathered to assess security threats, including the humanitarian impact of Russia's war against Ukraine.

July 4, 2023

Austria and Portugal Strengthen Bilateral Cooperation

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg received his Portuguese counterpart João Gomes Cravinho for a meeting in Vienna. The talks focused on intensifying political and economic cooperation and strengthening foreign policy cooperation between the two countries. Furthermore, they emphasized the unity of the EU member states in the face of the Russian war of aggression and exchanged views on the situation in the Western Balkans.

July 2, 2023

European Forum Wachau: Building a Resilient, Green, and Competitive Europe

The event under the general theme "Building a Resilient, Green and Competitive Europe" takes place for the 27th time. This year, the Europa Forum Wachau invited top-class guests to discuss the most important European issues. Among others also the topic of illegal migration, the war in Ukraine, and the Euro-integration of the Western Balkan states.

June 25, 2023

Research Presentation: Western Balkans 20 Years after the EU Summit in Thessaloniki

On Friday, June 30, 2023, at 09:00, the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), together with prominent politicians from Austria and the Balkans, will present their new study on the EU's geo-economic influence in the Western Balkans. The event will take place in the Reitersaal of the Oesterreichische Kontrollbank in Vienna.

June 15, 2023

OSCE Chairman Urges De-escalation and Emphasizes Youth Engagement During Visit to Kosovo and Serbia

The Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Bujar Osmani, recently concluded a productive one-day visit to Kosovo. Chairman Osmani also visited Serbia's capital Belgrade a day earlier. During his visits, he engaged in high-level meetings with key political figures.

May 31, 2023

NATO Boosts Security Measures in Kosovo, Backed by Austrian Armed Forces

Following violent protests in northern Kosovo, NATO is reinforcing the international protection force KFOR there. The Austrian Armed Forces are now also increasing troop protection in northern Kosovo.

May 30, 2023

OSCE Chairman-in-Office Bujar Osmani Wraps Up Visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina

The OSCE Chairman-in-Office and Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, successfully concluded a two-day visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), where he engaged in high-level discussions with key officials and emphasized the importance of ongoing reforms in various sectors.

May 24, 2023

European Ministers of Serbia and Austria Emphasize the Importance of Relations

During her working visit to Belgrade, Austrian Minister for European Affairs Karoline Edtstadler met with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić and her ministerial colleague Tanja Miščević.

May 22, 2023

Trilateral Working Meeting Between Foreign Ministers of Slovenia, Croatia and Austria

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg met his counterpart from Croatia Gordan Radman and his counterpart from Slovenia Tanja Fajon in Rijeka, Croatia, for a trilateral working meeting. The talks focused on the economic interdependence of the three countries and good neighborly relations, but Schallenberg blocked Slovenian wishes to open borders.

April 26, 2023

Secretary General of the Council of Europe Pejčinović Burić visiting Vienna

Secretary General Marija Pejčinović Burić met the Austrian President and key ministers and personalities during an official visit to Austria. Among others, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg received the Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejčinović Burić for a working meeting in Vienna.

April 23, 2023

President Van der Bellen Reassured Austria’s Support to Pendarovski

Austria’s Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen Went on an Official Visit to North Macedonia and Met with his Macedonian Counterpart Stevo Pendarovski. Van der Bellen reassured support for North Macedonia’s EU accession and opted for constitutional Change in the country.

March 30, 2023

President Van der Bellen Visited his Albanian Counterpart in Tirana

Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen started his official Western Balkans visits on Sunday. The first country he visited was Albania, where he met with his counterpart Bajram Begaj. They discussed the ongoing reforms in Albania and Austria supporting those reforms.

March 27, 2023

Minister Schallenberg and his Serbian Counterpart Ivica Dacic Met in Vienna

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg met with his Serbian counterpart in Vienna, where they discussed the relations between the countries and the normalization process between Serbia and Kosovo.

March 23, 2023

Minister Schallenberg Reassured Support for Ukraine at EU Ministers Meeting

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg participated in a meeting of foreign Ministers of all European Union states. He reassured support for Ukraine and the Western Balkans was a subject of this meeting.

March 20, 2023

New Directors Have Been Elected to the Austrian-Kosovar Friendship Association

The Austrian-Kosovar Friendship association has elected a new board of members. Andreas Minnich, a Member of Parliament, is the new president, among others; EU parliament member Schieder and member of the Austrian Parliament Brandstätter are also members of the Board.

March 19, 2023

Foreign Minister Schallenberg and His Italian Counterpart Traveled to Bosnia and Herzegovina

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and his Italian counterpart Antonio Tajani traveled to Bosnia and Herzegovina where they talked to several representatives of the country about the EU support for the country's reform and its general path towards the EU.

March 13, 2023

Challenges of the OSCE in Montenegro's Presidential Election

The OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) opened an election observation mission for the March 19 presidential elections in Montenegro. The OSCE mission taking place in the former Yugoslav republic of Montenegro faces a country that had problems with the legality of elections and the circumstances in which they are conducted, now in the shadow of the Ukraine war and after a turbulent past few months of political conflict between the ruling parties in the country.

March 9, 2023