Western Balkans

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

Austria Deploys 50th Contingent to Kosovo for Peacekeeping

The Austrian Armed Forces are continuing their long-standing commitment to peace and security in Kosovo. At the beginning of April, the 50th contingent of Austrian troops will be deployed to the KFOR mission. This mission, in which Austria has been involved since 1999, will now be continued under the leadership of Colonel Bernhard Gruber of the General Staff Service, who will assume responsibility for around 190 soldiers.

April 8, 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

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 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

Czech Prime Minister Fiala Visits Vienna

The Austrian Federal Chancellor Karl Nehammer and the Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala met in Vienna for a working meeting. This meeting, which was characterized by mutual respect and a long shared history, covered a variety of topics of great importance to both countries, including security, the economy, and migration.

December 13, 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

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

France's Plea for an Independent Europe: Ambassador Gilles Pécout for Strategic and Global Sovereignty of the EU

In an interview with the "Kronen Zeitung", the French ambassador in Vienna, Gilles Pécout, promoted the strategic and global sovereignty of the EU. He stressed that the EU is an ally of the USA, but not China's enemy.

October 16, 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

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

19th Salzburg Europe Summit 2023: "Europe: Setting out for New Horizons"

From September 24 to 26, 2023, the Institute of the Regions of Europe (IRE) invites you to the 19th Salzburg Europe Summit at the Salzburg Congress. More than 700 participants from all over Europe are expected to discuss together the current challenges and opportunities of the continent.

September 12, 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

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg at the Northern Adriatic Trilateral Meeting

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg took part in the Northern Adriatic Trilateral Meeting at the invitation of his Italian counterpart. The meeting was also attended by the Foreign Ministers of Italy, Antonio Tajani, Croatia, Gordan Grlić Radman, and Slovenia's Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon. The talks focused on important issues such as the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the rapprochement of the Western Balkans with the EU, and the fight against illegal migration.

July 11, 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

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

EU Parliament President Metsola Visited Vienna

The President of the European Parliament Roberta Metsola was on several working visits and events in an EU Parliament President addressed the members of the Austrian National Council. It also came to the working meeting with Austria's Foreign Minister Schallenberg and the opening of the interactive exhibition "Experience Europe" in Vienna.

May 29, 2023

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias and Austrian Counterpart Emphasize Close Relations and Cooperation Potential

Greece's Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias visited his Austrian counterpart for working talks in Vienna. Overall, the meeting between Greece and Austria showcased their strong cooperation and commitment to international law and cooperation in various fields.

May 5, 2023

Austrian President Van der Bellen Welcomes Slovenia's First Female President on Inaugural Visit

The new Slovenian President, Nataša Pirc Musar, paid her inaugural visit to Vienna, where she was welcomed by Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen with military honors. "It is an honor to receive today in Vienna the first female head of state of Slovenia," Van der Bellen said.

May 2, 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

New Austrian Award for Champions of Regional Cooperation

In recognition of Erhard Busek's tireless commitment to bringing the countries of Eastern and Southeastern Europe closer to the European Union, the Austrian Foreign Ministry, together with the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), the successor organization to the Stability Pact for Southeastern Europe headed by Erhard Busek from 2002 to 2008, is offering the Champion of Regional Integration Erhard Busek Award.

April 23, 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

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

Minister Schallenberg Promoted Dialogue at Munich Security Conference

Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg attended the 59th Munich Security Conference. He met with several counterparts and he emphasized the importance of communication in these difficult times.

February 19, 2023

New Year’s Reception for the Diplomatic Corps at Austrian Presidential Chancellory

Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen hosted the New Year's reception for the Diplomatic Corps in the Ceremonial Hall of the Vienna Hofburg. Van der Bellen used his speech to clarify Austria's diplomatic goals and Austrian Neutrality.

February 16, 2023

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken Received Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg

Secretary of State Antony Blinken hosted Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg in Washington, D.C., as a sign of the strong transatlantic partnership. In the first bilateral meeting between the two foreign ministers, the two discussed cooperation on the Russo-Ukrainian war, the Western Balkans, the expansion of Austria's Strategic Partnership with the United States, and the Turkish earthquake disaster.

February 12, 2023

Minister Schallenberg Visits the USA

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg visited the USA, where he will meet with Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Austria is a relevant geostrategic partner to the U.S. in many areas such as Western Balkan politics or the Ukraine subject.

February 7, 2023

Macedonian Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani Visits Vienna

The Foreign Minister of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, met in Vienna with the Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg, as well as with the OSCE leadership, as North Macedonia will assume the OSCE Chairmanship for 2023.

September 1, 2022 · Updated: January 20, 2023; 12:00

Foreign Minister Schallenberg and his Slovenian Counterpart Travel to Montenegro on Behalf of the EU

On behalf of the EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, Foreign Minister Schallenberg and his Slovenian colleague Tanja Fajon traveled to the previous model country among the accession candidates. It is currently going through a constitutional crisis.

December 21, 2022

Austrian President Van der Bellen Visited Slovenia

Re-elected Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen traveled to Slovenia for an official visit with his counterpart Borut Pahor. Besides discussions around the common issues in Slovenian, Austrian and European politics, this visit was also a farewell meeting between "personal friends", as Pahor is leaving office.

December 14, 2022

Italy's Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani Visits Vienna

Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Antonio Tajani came to Vienna for a meeting with Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Chancellor Karl Nehammer. The visit of Tajani asked for the opportunity to consolidate cooperation and talks with Vienna on the main bilateral issues (especially in the fields of economy, energy and infrastructure), European and international, starting with the migration issue.

December 13, 2022

Austria Still Declines the Schengen Expansion

Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer confirmed Austria’s negative position towards the Schengen expansion today. At the Western Balkan meeting today in the Albanian capital Tirana, Nehammer declined further Schengen expansions for now.

December 7, 2022
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