Western Balkans

Bulgarian President Meets With Van der Bellen in Salzburg

Bulgarian President Rumen Radev recently met with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen at the Salzburg Festival. The two discussed various issues, including climate change, migration, the Western Balkans and more. Read more about their meeting.

August 2, 2021

High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina Farewelled by Austria

The High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, Valentin Inzko, has left his position. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg praised him for his many years of service and his support of the Western Balkans in a farewell statement.

August 2, 2021

The Central 5 (C5) Discusses COVID-19 in Czech Republic

Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korčok, Slovenian Foreign Minister Anže Logar, Czech Foreign Minister Jakub Kulhánek, and Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, met with Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg as part of the “Central 5” (C5) country group. Here they discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, EU enlargement, and more.

July 23, 2021

At Summit With Merkel, Kurz Reaffirms Support for Western Balkan EU Accession

German Chancellor Angela Merkel hosted Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz and other leaders for the Western Balkans Summit. Kurz expressed his full support for the six Western Balkan states Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Read what he said.

July 15, 2021

Kurz Visits USA and Meets with UN Secretary-General Guterres

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz traveled to the USA for a multi-day visit. One of his many meetings was with UN Secretary-General António Guterres in New York. Kurz discussed COVID-19, the UN Sustainable Development Goals, and much more. Read more about his trip and his other meetings.

July 14, 2021

Weekly Briefing: Austria Prepares for a "Summer Like Back Then"

Austria is getting ready for a summer with (hopefully) little Covid-19 impact. Night life will be celebrating its full return in a week from now and travel with the Green Passport should become easier as of July 1 as well. The Find out more about this week's developments.

June 24, 2021

Kosovo's President Meets Van der Bellen in Vienna

Kosovo's President Vjosa Osmani-Sadriu traveled to Vienna to meet with her Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen. The main topics of their discussion were the progress in the EU accession process and bilateral cooperation in various fields. Read more about the meeting below.

June 24, 2021

Vienna Hosts Western Balkan Summit

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz has invited political leaders from various Western Balkan countries to Vienna to discuss current issues on an European as well as on a bilateral level. Read more below to find out what was discussed.

June 21, 2021

Europa Forum Wachau: "Include Western Balkans in EU Programs"

At the 25th Europa Forum Wachau, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg spoke out in favor of finding creative approaches to bind the Western Balkan states to the EU even before a possible EU accession.

June 16, 2021

Lithuanian Prime Minister in Vienna: "Situation in Belarus Unacceptable"

In her visit to Vienna, Lithuanian Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė demands the immediate release of all political prisoners in Belarus. Austria's Chancellor Kurz and Šimonytė share very similar concerns regarding Belarus. Read more below.

June 14, 2021

Weekly Briefing: Is the Pandemic Really Over?

In a meeting with his Italian counterpart, Austrian Federal President Van der Bellen stated that the "pandemic as we have experienced it can be considered overcome." Is this the case? Find out more about this week's developments.

June 10, 2021

Austria's Demand for EU Accession of Western Balkans Finds EU Support

At a virtual conference with Foreign Ministers of Western Balkan countries and numerous EU Foreign Ministers, the latter ones vehemently supported the EU accession process of Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. Read more below.

June 9, 2021

U.S. Special Envoy Kerry Discusses Climate Change with Schallenberg and European Foreign Ministers

John Kerry, U.S. President's Special Envoy for Climate, and the European Foreign Ministers, among them Austria's Alexander Schallenberg, met virtually to discuss international cooperation with regard to climate change. What they agreed on and what other topics the Foreign Affairs Council addressed? Read below!

May 12, 2021

Austria Wants to Include Western Balkans for Green Passport

At working meetings in Albania and North Macedonia, Austria's Minister for European Affairs Edtstadler has spoken out in favor of including Western Balkan states in the EU's "Green Passport". Why and how? Read more!

May 11, 2021

Kosovo's Parliament Speaker and Sobotka Agree on Continued Cooperation

Kosovo's Parliament Speaker Glauk Konjufca and Austria's National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka agreed on continuing the bilateral cooperation with the Western Balkans Scholarship Program during a virtual meeting. The fight against the ongoing pandemic, EU accession and other bilateral topics were also on the agenda of the meeting.

April 29, 2021

EU and Austria Provide 650,000 Covid-19 Vaccines for Western Balkans

In a joint project, the European Commission and Austria more than half a million Covid-19 vaccines are provided to Western Balkan states, starting in May 2021. Both Commission President Von der Leyen and Austria's Foreign Minister Schallenberg stress the importance of having no "white spots on the vaccination map, wherever they may be."

April 21, 2021

Batet Lamaña and Sobotka Discuss Spanish-Austrian Relations

The President of the Spanish Chamber of Deputies Meritxell Batet Lamaña and her Austrian counterpart, National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka held a virtual exchange on Covid-19, the fight against terrorism and anti-Semitism as well as numerous foreign policy issues.

April 20, 2021

Bosnia and Herzegovina's Parliament Presidium Meets Austrian Counterpart

The Presidium of the Parliament of Bosnia and Herzegovina met virtually with Austria's President of the National Council to discuss the accession process of Western Balkan states to the EU, current developments in the Covid-19 pandemic and other issues. Sobotka made clear that Bosnia and Herzegovina has Austria's full support during the accession process.

April 19, 2021

North Macedonia's Deputy Prime Minister Visits Edtstadler in Vienna

Nikola Dimitrov, Deputy Prime Minister for European Affairs from North Macedonia, has visited the Austrian Minister for European Affairs, Karoline Edtstadler, in Vienna. On the agenda of the talk between the two politicians were the EU accession process of North Macedonia and the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.

April 16, 2021

Schallenberg at FAC: "Turkey Keeps Taking Steps to Cause Trouble"

Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and the other EU Foreign Ministers have met in Brussels for the Foreign Affairs Council. Sanctions against China for human rights violations, the EU relations with Turkey as well as the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic were on the agenda.

March 24, 2021

North Macedonia's Foreign Minister Visited Schallenberg

North Macedonia's Foreign Minister Osmani visited Vienna and met his Austrian counterpart Schallenberg to discuss the ongoing EU accession process of his country and the Covid-19 pandemic. Both parties are eager to start negotiations about the accession as soon as possible.

December 21, 2020

Dutch Foreign Minister in Vienna

The Dutch Foreign Minister Blok visits his Austrian counterpart Schallenberg to discuss EU's foreign and security policy, the fight against terrorism, and other current foreign relations issues. The Dutch politician also offered his condolences after the terror attack in Vienna,

November 5, 2020

Edtstadler Welcomes Progress in Accession Process of Western Balkan States

The European Commission has agreed on a financial package for economic integration of the Western Balkan states. The good developments in North Macedonia and Albania are not only welcomed by the European Union but also by Federal Minister Edtstadler.

October 8, 2020

Hungary Recognizes Sobotka for Development of Bilateral Relations

The Hungarian government has awarded Austria's President of the National Council Sobotka the Commander's Cross for his efforts to further bilateral relations between the two countries and to promote the perception of Hungary's position in the EU.

September 3, 2020

Edtstadler: Six New EU Member Countries in the Next Decade

Hungarian Minister Varga and Austria's Minister for the EU Edtstadler took part in a discussion at the European Forum Alpbach that dealt with the presence and future of the European Union. Edtstadler is optimistic that the EU will grow by six member states in the next 10 years.

September 1, 2020

National Council President Sobotka Met Slovak and Czech Counterparts, Kollár and Vondráček

Austria's National Council President Wolfgang Sobotka invited his Slovak and Czech counterparts, Boris Kollár and Radek Vondráček, to discuss the cooperation between the three neighboring countries and other political issues.

August 31, 2020

Visit of US Secretary of State to Austria Results in a Joint Declaration by Austria and the United States

A joint declaration by Austria and United States was issued as part of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's visit to Austria. The declaration included, among other topics, commitment to rebuilding efforts after the Covid-19 crisis and the creation of an even better bilateral dialogue.

August 15, 2020

Illegal Migration: Austria Calls for More Coordination and Cooperation on Eastern Mediterranean Routes

Agreement reached at the Ministerial Conference to Combat Illegal Migration on the Eastern Mediterranean Routes in Vienna. It was decided to establish a platform for the fight against illegal migration.

July 24, 2020

25 Years Srebrenica: Austria Commemorates the Victims of the Greatest Genocide in Europe since the End of the Second World War

The genocide of Srebrenica, the worst crime in Europe since the end of the Second World War, is currently being commemorated for the 25th time. This day of remembrance serves to commemorate the thousands of murdered people who lost their lives in the days after 10 July 1995.

July 13, 2020

Stricter Border Controls and Travel Warning for Western Balkans, Romania, Bulgaria and Moldova

Due to the high infection rates in these countries, Austria declares the highest security level. Anyone who travels to Romania, Bulgaria, the Republic of Moldova or, for example, to the countries of the Western Balkans, despite an upright travel warning, must undergo a 14-day home quarantine or a negative covid test upon returning to Austria. This is not a recommendation, but a legal regulation. Fines of up to 1,450 euros will be imposed.

July 8, 2020

Visit to the Western Balkans by Foreign Minister Schallenberg and European Affairs Minister Edtstadler

A trip to the Western Balkans by Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg and European Affairs Minister Karoline Edtstadler took the two Austrian People's Party politicians to Albania, Serbia and Kosovo.

June 1, 2020

EC Renews Talks with North Macedonia and Albania

The process of rapprochement between the two Western Balkan countries and the EU European Union, supported by Austria, now seems to be gaining momentum again after the EU Commission today reiterated its recommendation to open accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia.

March 2, 2020

Austria Supports Start of Accession Negotiations with North Macedonia

Karoline Edtstadler calls for a speedy start of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and assures Austria's full support.

February 28, 2020

Sobotka in Rome Promotes EU Enlargement Towards the Western Balkans

Meetings with top Italian politicians, but also the commemoration of the Shoah were the focus of a visit by Wolfgang Sobotka to Rome.

January 30, 2020

Counter-Terrorism in the Focus of UN and Interparliamentary Cooperation

Reinhold Lopatka elected Chairman of the High-Level Advisory Group on Combating Terrorism and Violent Extremism.

October 21, 2019

Worldwide Parliamentary Meeting: Presidents from 178 States Expected in Vienna

Austria will host the 5th World Meeting of the Interparliamentary Union (IPU) from August 19 to 21, 2020. Presidents of parliaments from 178 states and around 1,200 delegates are expected. This is the first time that a national parliament, the Austrian Parliament, has hosted this conference. The World Meeting will be organised in cooperation with the IPU and the United Nations.

October 16, 2019 · Updated: October 17, 2019; 14:45

EU Once Again Fails to Reach Deal on North Macedonia and Albania

The two Western Balkan states must continue to wait for the hoped-for start of EU accession negotiations. France, the Netherlands and Denmark blocked an EU decision in support of the two Balkan states and justified it with doubts about the progress of reforms. Austria has pledged its support until the last minute and has tried to turn the tide.

October 16, 2019

Visit of the President of the Republic of North Macedonia to Austria

While the Macedonian President Stevo Pendarovski pays his respects to Austria and the Federal President continues to strongly support the accession of North Macedonia into the European Union, it becomes known from Paris that France's President Emmanuel Macron is vetoing EU accession negotiations with the Balkan states of North Macedonia and Albania, as he apparently considers the progress made so far in the two countries to be insufficient.

October 11, 2019

Schallenberg: Full Integration into the European Union for Albania

After his visit to North Macedonia, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg met with representatives of the Albanian state and city governments in Tirana.

October 8, 2019

25 Years of Diplomatic Relations between North Macedonia and Austria

Working visit of Alexander Schallenberg to the Macedonian leadership in Skopje, with the aim of exchanging views on the opening of EU accession negotiations and regional issues, and to reassure North Macedonia of full Austrian support for a speedy EU accession.

October 7, 2019

New Croatian Foreign Minister in Vienna

The visit of the new Croatian Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, Gordan Grlić-Radman, to the Foreign Ministry in Vienna focused on the forthcoming EU Presidency, which Croatia will assume for the first time on 1 January 2020, as well as the possible start of EU accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.

September 13, 2019

Schallenberg: "Europe is incomplete as long as the countries of the Western Balkans are not part of the EU"

Foreign Minister Schallenberg once again sees Austria within the framework of the EU as one of the strongest advocates for the Western Balkan states and calls at the informal meeting of EU foreign ministers in Helsinki for a rapid rapprochement of the Western Balkan states.

September 3, 2019

Austrian Minister of the Interior: Observing Developments along the Western Balkans Route Closely

The Macedonian Ambassador Nenad Kolev and Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn met for a working discussion in Vienna. In addition to bilateral cooperation, the topic of migration, in particular the Western Balkans route, formed the agenda.

August 13, 2019

EU Appoints Austrian Dr. Johann Sattler as New Special Representative to Bosnia and Herzegovina

The Council of the European Union appointed Johann Sattler as EU Special Representative (EUSR) in Bosnia and Herzegovina. He will also take over the role of the Head of the European Union's Delegation in Sarajevo.

August 9, 2019

Southeastern Europe Remains Focus of Austrian Foreign and Security Policy

The Ambassador of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kemal Kozaric, and Interior Minister Wolfgang Peschorn met for a working meeting in Vienna. Bilateral cooperation and migration were on the agenda.

August 1, 2019

Foreign Trade Gains with the Western Balkans

Exports worth 1.35 billion euros to the EU accession candidates of the Western Balkans (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) are balanced by imports to Austria worth 1.25 billion euros.

July 16, 2019

Poznan Summit: Bringing Western Balkans Closer to EU Remains Priority

Chancellor Bierlein at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Poland. The sixth Western Balkans Conference as part of the Berlin Process, which brings together heads of government from several EU states and their counterparts from the Western Balkans, dealt with connectivity at all levels.

July 9, 2019

First Visit Abroad Leads Foreign Minister Schallenberg to Finland

His first bilateral trip abroad took Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg to Helsinki. The trip focused not only on European policy issues but also on the EU Presidency, which Finland will take over on 1 July 2019.

June 25, 2019

Austrian Foreign Minister Schallenberg at EU Foreign Affairs Council for the First Time

In Luxembourg, Federal Minister Alexander Schallenberg represented Austria for the first time at the FAC Foreign Affairs Council and the Council of the European Union.

June 21, 2019

Albania and North Macedonia: No EU Accession Negotiations for the Time Being, but Austria Still in Favor of It

The decision to start accession negotiations with Albania and Northern Macedonia was postponed. Several EU states are blocking enlargement in the Balkans. The EU committee of the Austrian Federal Council demands that the Western Balkans become part of the EU. The Austrian Federation of Trade Unions, on the other hand, warns against hasty new admissions.

June 20, 2019
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