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Western Balkans

Western Balkans - No Reconciliation in Kosovo Conflict

Austrian Federal Chancellor Sebastian Kurz visited Serbia and Kosovo during a trip to the Western Balkans. Since the last clash between the two heads of state Vučić and Thaçi in September, the talks have been suspended there. The EU should continue to support the search for a solution to the Kosovo conflict.

November 7, 2018

The Western Balkans: Resolving Outstanding Issues between Belgrade and Pristina Prerequisite for Serbia's Accession to the EU

As international and local pressure mounts on Belgrade and Pristina to define their relations with an agreement on normalization, the official Austrian visit to the Republic of Serbia as part of an economic and cultural delegation headed by Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen focused on bilateral economic relations, Serbia's EU perspective and the Belgrade-Priština Dialogue.

October 18, 2018

Enlargement Perspectives for the Western Balkans - The Role of Parliaments

During a panel discussion in the Austrian Parliament, the perspective of enlargement for the Western Balkans and, in this context, the role of parliaments were discussed. The future of the six candidate countries in the Western Balkans is within the EU. They need an honest perspective for this common future with the EU Member States. The EU must contribute to ensuring the stability of the democracies in these countries. The former President of the German Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, attended the discussion.

October 11, 2018

Macedonian Community in Austria: 25th Anniversary of the Macedonian Orthodox Church

According to estimates, 25,000 Macedonians, including many from other parts of the former Yugoslavia, live in Austria. Despite the upcoming historic referendum in the Republic of Macedonia, it could be learned from diplomatic circles, that on the occasion of the Macedonia Austria Days in Vienna and on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Macedonian Orthodox Church in Austria a concert of a traditional Macedonian folk dance orchestra with dances and songs and a reception with traditional wines and dishes from Macedonia was held.

October 2, 2018

Macedonia's Name Dispute with Greece: Macedonians in Austria Cast Their Votes

The Macedonians will decide next Sunday on a bilateral agreement between Athens and Skopje, which can pave the way for the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia to NATO and EU membership. Greece, which claims the name Macedonia for its northern region, should be made satisfied with "Northern Macedonia". The Macedonian foreign voters can vote for the referendum at the diplomatic representations of their country (diplomatic representations in Austria see below). Voters will be asked "Do you support EU and NATO membership by accepting the agreement between Republic of Macedonia and Republic of Greece?"

September 26, 2018

Austria Prepares for the Presidency of the Council of the European Union: ‘A Europe that protects’

On 1 July 2018 Austria takes over the EU Presidency for six months. The Austrian Presidency of the Council of the European Union will focus on three topics: the fight against illegal migration, digitalisation and stability in the neighbourhood.

June 5, 2018

The Window of Opportunity for the Western Balkans

Will the Western Balkan countries be able to take advantage of the moment and will it bring the year 2018 closer to the European Union? In February 2018, a new Enlargement Strategy was presented in Strasbourg by the EU Commission. Bulgaria, currently having the Presidency of the Council of the EU, will organize a major Balkan’s Summit in May. Austria, for a long time one of the most prominent promoters of the EU Enlargement for the Western Balkans and a country deeply intertwined with the region, will assume the EU presidency in the second half of 2018. This year represents one of the crucial moments for enlargement as major steps need to be undertaken to reach the goal of making the enlargement perspective realistic for 2025.

April 26, 2018

Goals for Austria's Presidency of the Council of the European Union

On 1 July 2018, Austria will take over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union from Bulgaria. During its Presidency of the Council of the European Union (1 July to 31 December 2018), guided by the motto "A Europe that protects", Austria will focus on three key areas: security and the fight against illegal migration, retaining competitiveness through digitalisation, and stability in the neighbouring regions (particularly the accession of the Western Balkans to the EU).

April 25, 2018

Telekom Austria Prepares Expansion in the Western Balkans

Telekom Austria is strategically strengthening its search for takeover targets and has made EUR 1 billion available in the war chest. CEO Alejandro Plater has announced his intention to expand again in the Western Balkans (Serbia, Croatia and other countries of former Yugoslavia).

April 11, 2018

Former US Ambassador to Austria Swanee Hunt Back in Vienna: Can Women Stop War?

Activist, philanthropist, billionaire's daughter, Democrat, Harvard lecturer and former US Ambassador to Austria Swannee Hunt returns to Vienna to be interviewed at the Austrian Institute for International Affairs (oiip) on the subject of "Can Women Stop War?

April 11, 2018

The Western Balkans Remain a Priority of Austrian Foreign Policy

Because of a common history and the tradition of political, cultural and economic relations, Austrian foreign policy has always attached particular importance to the Western Balkans. The primary goal of Austrian foreign policy is to support the transformation of the Western Balkans area into a zone of stability. From the Austrian perspective there is only one option for the Western Balkans: a full European integration of the region. However, the political commitment from the regions' leaders is expected.

February 28, 2018

Western Balkans Summit was Held in Paris

Following the 2014 Western Balkans Summit in Berlin and the Vienna Western Balkans Summit of August 2015, the third Western Balkans Summit was held in Paris in the context of the ‘Berlin Process’. More than 500,000 of the people with migration background who live in Austria are from the region. Austrian companies have hundreds of branches or subsidiaries in the Western Balkans, which clearly illustrates the very close economic relations.

July 8, 2016

Western Balkans Countries Discussed Investment, Jobs and Integration in Vienna

The World Bank and the Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw) held a high-level policy dialogue on ‘Investment, Jobs and Integration’ last week. Ministers and senior officials from the Western Balkans region as well as policy experts from international organisations and the business community gathered to discuss the challenges the region is currently facing, in particular the high unemployment rate, low international competitiveness, and lack of modern infrastructure.

July 8, 2016

Vienna Insurance Group Buys AXA Subsidiaries in Serbia

Vienna Insurance Group (VIG) is acquiring AXA’s life and non-life companies in Serbia. The purchase will increase VIG’s market share in Serbia to around 11.5 percent.

July 7, 2016

Central European Initiative Discusses Refugee Crisis in Banja Luka

Foreign Ministers of the 18 member states of the Central European Initiative (CEI) met in Bosnia Herzegovina, which holds the initiative’s annual rotating Chairmanship this year. Discussions mainly focused on the refugee crisis and potential solutions.

June 20, 2016

The Western Balkans Conference Which Led to Row Over Worsening Refugee Crisis

Convened on the initiative of Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and Austrian Minister of the Interior Johanna Mikl-Leitner, the Western Balkans conference “Managing Migration Together” was held at the Federal Ministry of the Interior in Vienna. 18 foreign and interior ministers from the Western Balkans attended the conference. The participants included the foreign and interior ministers of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.

February 26, 2016

Central and Eastern Europe's Financial Elite Gathered at the CEE Forum in Vienna

The 21st Euromoney Central and Eastern European Forum ended in Vienna today, where 1000 delegates from the region joined local and international investors to help plan, debate and analyze the economic agenda for the region for the year ahead. The vast majority of the delegates have a negative outlook for the year 2016. Only one of the participants expects that this year CEE will grow more than 3.5%.

January 20, 2016

Strabag Builds Hydroelectric Power Plant in Bosnia-Herzegovina Worth € 57 Million

A consortium consisting of Austrian construction group Strabag and Croatian industrial company Končar has been awarded the contract to build the Vranduk power plant on the river Bosna on behalf of energy supply company JP Elektroprivreda BiH.

January 11, 2016

Report: Drug Money and Opiate Trafficking on the Balkan Route

A report recently launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) shows that the total value of illicit heroin and opium trafficked from Afghanistan to Western Europe through the Balkans amounts to some $28 billion every year. Sixty-five per cent of this total ($18 billion) is generated in Western and Central Europe.

December 14, 2015

Austria Supports Bosnia and Herzegovina's EU Reform Agenda

The Ministry for Foreign Affairs’ Secretary General, Linhart visited Sarajevo. EU-accession and fight against radicalization were in the centre of the talks. Linhart: “Full support for the Bosnian reform route”.

November 20, 2015

Only Full EU-Integration Can Stabilise the Western Balkans for a Lasting Time

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Sebastian Kurz commented on the European Commission’s progress reports, which were presented earlier this month: “Most of the Western Balkans countries’ progress on their way in direction of EU-membership is noticeable and positive. The Commission’s new methodology renders possible an improved analysis on the progress made in the respective countries in the last year. This creates a positive competition. The new progress reports also underscore that all candidate countries still have a lot of hard work before them and EU support towards this is essential. The current refugee crisis is no exception in this respect as it shows, how important the Western Balkans countries and Turkey are to Europe in tackling this particular challenge.”

November 18, 2015

Linhart: “Foreign Policy Should Focus on Stabilization of Neighbouring Regions”

“The European foreign policy must focus more of its attention on the neighborhood, the stabilization thereof – and in the case of the Western Balkans, their way towards the EU – has to be our European priority”, Secretary General for Austrian Foreign Affairs, Dr. Michael Linhart declared on the occasion of the 19th Europe Forum of the Austria Institute for Europe and Security Policy (AIES) in the Diplomatic Academy of Vienna

November 18, 2015

EBRD Sees Mixed Outlook for CESEE Countries in 2015-16

The outlook for economies in central and south eastern Europe is improving on the back of eurozone monetary easing but prospects further to the east of the transition region have worsened, as the impact of Russia’s recession intensifies.

May 14, 2015

International Jihadism Conference in Vienna: "Tackling Jihadism Together"

Ministers from Austria, the Western Balkans & Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos gathered in Vienna to tackle Jihadism. Austrian FM Kurz: "Tackling Jihadism is an urgent task for all of us - we're in this together!" Avramopoulos: "Need to transform common will into common action".

March 20, 2015

Cost of Living Rankings: CEE Capitals Cheaper, Vienna is 32nd Most Expensive City

The Mercer's 2014 Cost of Living Rankings have been published and cover 211 cities across five continents. While Western European cities have all risen in the rankings mainly due to the strengthening of the Euro against the US dollar, most cities in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), however have fallen in the ranking as a result of local currencies depreciating against the US dollar. Bratislava (#84), Prague (#92), Kiev (#98), Ljubljana (#116), Zagreb (#120), Budapest (#135), Warsaw (#142), Belgrade (#184).

July 25, 2014

Austria's Foreign Policy on the Western Balkans

Due to centuries of political, cultural and economic interrelations, Austrian foreign policy has always attached particular importance to the Balkans. The prime goal of Austrian foreign policy is to support the transformation of the Western Balkans into a zone of stability.

June 4, 2014

Austria: Western Balkans Representatives are Meeting in Vienna

The Western Balkans Conference and the Central European Initiative (CEI) Ministerial Meeting are currently discussing questions regarding the EU enlargement, the role of the EU as a peace project and the economic situation in the Western Balkans.

June 3, 2014

Fischer: Room for Further Trade with Albania

Austrian President Heinz Fischer was paying a visit to Western Balkan States.

May 22, 2014

Hypo Group: Shady Deals with Balkan Diplomats

The Austrian problem bank Hypo Group has troubles recovering debts.

May 3, 2014

New Serbian Government Wants Speedy EU Accession

The new Serbian government is determined to accelerate the EU accession progress.

May 2, 2014

Slovenia: List of Debtors of NLB Published

The Slovenian bad bank BAMC (Bank Asset Management Company) has published the list of debtors of the country’s two largest banks, which are responsible for the disaster of the state-controlled banks.

April 23, 2014

Hypo Group: Italian Branch Turns Out a Huge Problem

According to CEO Picker there were more “skeletons in the closet than expected” which led to huge losses for the ailing bank. The Italian network may have to be downsized.

April 17, 2014

Hypo Group: Privatization of Balkan Business Until 2015

The nationalized problem bank intends to sell its Balkan business within 2014.

April 17, 2014

Erste Group Bank AG: Full Year 2013 Company Report has been Published by FriedlResearch

Published in April 2014, this report contains in depth information and data about Erste Group and its operations and markets. It contains a company overview, business and strategy description, financial ratios, valuation & forecasts, plus a SWOT analysis.

April 15, 2014

Serbia’s Goal to Join EU until 2020 “Realistic”

According to former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, Serbia’s aim to become a member of the European Union until 2020 is realistic.

April 11, 2014

Moldova: Urgent Call for EU-Membership

Getting out of the zone of uncertainty and instability, this is the aim of the Moldovan Prime Minister Iurie Leanca.

April 10, 2014

Bosnian Billionaire to Acquire Hypo Group?

The Finance Ministry confirmed the announcement and is now examining the offer.

April 4, 2014

Serbia: New Government to Hold EU Accession Talks Regularly

The next government of Serbia will hold sessions with regard to the EU accesssion on a regular basis, as announced by Miscevic, chief EU negotiator of Serbia.

April 3, 2014

Ten Years After The 2004 EU Enlargement: Achievements and Next Steps

International Conference, Vienna, 24-25 April 2014

March 31, 2014

Austria: Opposition Criticizes Nationalization

On Thursday Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger expects a binding statement by ailing bank Hypo Group Alpe Adria about how much state aid will be required. The opposition heavily criticizes the nationalization by the Austrian state in 2009.

March 20, 2014

Austria: Carinthia Forced to Pay for Hypo Group

Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger announced wanting to include the federal province of Carinthia to participate in the downsizing costs for ailing bank Hypo Group Alpe Adria. Austerity measures are “inevitable”.

March 17, 2014

Austria: Spindelegger Demands Valid Figures by Hypo Group

Finance Minister Michael Spindelegger demands valid figures from Hypo Group Alpe Adria before any further capital injections will be made by the Austrian state.

March 15, 2014

Austria/SEE: Crucial Days for Hypo Group’s Future

Today the supervisory board of ailing Hypo Group is gathering to determine the financial gap of Hypo Group and the amount required to complete the balance sheets for 2013. Moreover, a decision about the SEE network will have to be made.

March 14, 2014

Hypo Group: Further State Aid Necessary This Year

Finance Minister Spindelegger fears that nationalized problem bank Hypo Group Alpe Adria will require further state aids for its downsizing still within this year.

March 10, 2014

“Serbia Has to Become Economically and Politically Stable”

Prime Minister Dacic promised to continue to follow the path to an EU membership. Former Austrian Chancellor Gusenbauer underlines Serbia’s importance among Western Balkan states.

March 3, 2014

Leaders from Western Balkans Meeting at EBRD

Prime Ministers from the Western Balkans are gathering to discuss economic cooperations.

February 25, 2014

Serbia: Full EU Member by 2020?

Aleksandar Vucic, Deputy Prime Minister of Serbia, said on Thursday evening that the country had full political stability and announced that the country’s aim is to become an EU member in 2020.

February 22, 2014

Montenegro Gets Own Embassy in Romania

On Tuesday Montenegro opened its first embassy in Romania.

February 19, 2014

Picker: Hypo to Cost Taxpayers “Only” up to € 4bn

According to CEO of Hypo Group Alpe Adria Picker, the ailing bank will burden taxpayers with “only“ € 4bn at the most. Head of IHS, Keuschnigg, warns the Austrian policy-makers of forwarding costs to bondholders.

February 19, 2014

Serbia: Fast Implementations of Reforms Crucial

Tanja Miscevic, chief negotiator in the EU accession talks, announced on Sunday that elections in Serbia are not slowing down the process in European integration.

February 17, 2014
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