Western Balkans

Foreign Policy Report 2021 Puts Security in Europe in the Spotlight

The recently presented Europe and Foreign Policy Report 2021 outlines the foreign policy problems and challenges that Austria, but also Europe, had to deal with in the past year.

October 19, 2022

Slovak Foreign Minister Káčer Visits Vienna

Slovakia's new Foreign Minister Rastislav Káčer paid an inaugural visit to Vienna in one of his first official acts. The exchange with Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg focused on joint action in response to the Russian war on Ukraine and the resulting energy crisis, as well as the European integration of the Western Balkan states.

October 16, 2022

Foreign Minister of Kosovo Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz Visits Vienna

The Foreign Minister of Kosovo Donika Gërvalla-Schwarz was on a working visit to Vienna. The Kosovar Foreign Minister met with Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg. The talks focused on the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine on the Western Balkans, the advancement of EU visa liberalization for Kosovo and the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

October 11, 2022

Austria's Minister for Europe Edtstadler met Olena Zelenska in Warsaw

Austria's Minister for Europe Karoline Edtstadler participated in the Warsaw Security Forum. In Warsaw, the Minister met with Olena Zelenska and the Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister. The minister announced the preparations for a trip to Kyiv with EU counterparts and said the war should not be perceived primarily from a "male perspective".

October 5, 2022

Weekly Briefing: Latest Developments in and Around Diplomacy

The Find out more about this week's developments. Last week was turbulent for the most important matters of diplomacy in Vienna. The war in Ukraine, the European Forum Alpbach or the efforts of international organizations in Vienna towards peaceful solutions shows once again how multifaceted diplomacy is. Read about the latest developments in diplomacy in Vienna and Austria.

August 25, 2022

Croatian Foreign Minister Grlić Radman on a Visit to the Republic of Austria

The Foreign Minister of Croatia, Gordan Grlić Radman, met in Vienna with the Foreign Minister of Austria, Alexander Schallenberg. Further, the Croatian Foreign Minister met with representatives of the Croatian community in Austria.

July 28, 2022

Austria's and Hungary's Foreign Ministers in Talks: "Western Balkan Enlargement is the Best Geopolitical Tool We Have"

During a recent visit to Vienna, the Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó met with the Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg. Apart from bilateral issues, the meeting focused on the Russian aggression in Ukraine and its effects on Central European neighbors and Western Balkans. The two foreign ministers also discussed European energy security.

July 15, 2022

Georgian Prime Minister Visits Vienna

Georgia's Prime Minister Irakli Garibashvili and Foreign Minister Ilia Darchiashvili recently met their counterparts Nehammer and Schallenberg in Vienna. The reason for the meeting was the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations, but also current topics such as the conflict in Ukraine or Georgia's accession negotiations with the EU. Read on if you want to learn more!

July 11, 2022

Montenegro's Prime Minister Visits the Austrian Federal Chancellor and Foreign Minister

Dritan Abazović, the Prime Minister of Montenegro, visited Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer and Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg in Vienna this week. Montenegro's EU accession was discussed, as well as the deepening of bilateral relations. In the Western Balkans, the small Adriatic Republic is considered a model pupil among the EU accession candidates.

July 8, 2022

Austria Supports Ukraine in Reconstruction and Development

Austria's Federal Minister Karoline Edtstadler assured Ukraine and particularly affected states in the course of the high-level Ukraine Reconstruction Conference in Lugano. The conference aims to set a comprehensive plan for the reconstruction of Ukraine and, above all, a further sign of solidarity for Kiev.

July 6, 2022

Weekly Briefing: Diplomacy and State Visits in Vienna

Read about the newest developments in Diplomacy in Vienna and Austria. The Dutch Royal Couple visited Austria and International Organizations in Vienna released important publications. The consequences of the Russo-Ukrainian War are making themselves felt in security issues and are changing people's lives in Vienna as well. Further, the newest developments in the Iran Nuclear talks raise hopes. The Find out more about this week's developments.

June 30, 2022

Austria's Chancellor Calls for a Clear Perspective for Bosnia at the EU-Western Balkans Summit

Last week at the European Council and the EU-Western Balkans Summit, the Federal Chancellor of Austria, Karl Nehammer, demanded that the countries of the Western Balkans be offered fair prospects of potential EU accession. Among other things, he made it clear that accession negotiations for Bosnia would be possible as soon as it had fulfilled the reform points set by the EU.

June 27, 2022

Weekly Briefing: Newest Developments in Diplomacy and Vienna

Read about the newest developments in Diplomacy in Vienna and Austria. Further, Austria is strengthening its efforts in aiding Ukraine, international politics and local grievances. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov visited Iran. The Find out more about this week's developments.

June 23, 2022

Austria Sees Potential EU Accession Status as a Historic Opportunity

Austria sees the EU Commission's proposal to grant Ukraine and Moldova the status of EU accession candidates as a historic opportunity as a clear signal of the EU's strength. Nevertheless, Austria also has a responsibility towards the Western Balkans and should not ignore them. Read on if you want to learn more.

June 21, 2022

Weekly Briefing: Diplomacy and Newest Developments in Vienna and Austria

Read about the newest developments in Diplomacy in Vienna and Austria. Further, Austria is strengthening its efforts to fight global and local grievances. Austrian Foreign Minister Schallenberg visited Serbia and Kosovo. The Find out more about this week's developments.

June 19, 2022

Austrian Foreign Minister Schallenberg in Serbia and Kosovo

Austrian foreign policy is always eager in the Balkans, especially in times of the Ukraine war. Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg traveled again to the Western Balkans region, more precisely to Serbia and Kosovo. The talks focused on the impact of the Russian war against Ukraine, the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries and the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo.

June 14, 2022

Weekly Briefing: Austrian Efforts in International Politics, IAEA Concerns and Russian War in Ukraine

Austria is strengthening its efforts in foreign policy and international cooperation. The IAEA is expressing its concerns about nuclear security in Iran and Ukraine. The Russian war in Ukraine is causing serious questions about human rights and European security. The Find out more about this week's developments.

June 11, 2022

Strategic Assistance for Western Balkan Countries: "Regional Strategic Leadership Course" in Austria

As part of the "Regional Strategic Leadership Course," high-ranking civilian and military leaders met in Austria in early June to receive joint training in strategic decision-making. The first module of the first-ever course was held at the National Defense Academy in Vienna.

June 8, 2022

New Slovenian Government Received Austria's Foreign Minister as First Official International Guest

Slovenia's recently elected government this week received Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg as its first official international guest. This included talks with Slovenia's Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon and Prime Minister Robert Golob as well as President Borut Pahor on important European issues and the strengthening of already excellent relations.

June 7, 2022

Trilateral Presidential Meeting Between the Presidents of Austria, Croatia and Slovenia

Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen met with his counterparts from Croatia and Slovenia, Zoran Milanovic and Borut Pahor, in Croatia for the traditional triennial meeting. The focus is on the Euro-Atlantic integration of the Western Balkans, as well as the impact of the Russian war in Ukraine.

June 5, 2022

Austrian Foreign Minister at GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum: "Ukraine is Part of the European Family"

The GLOBSEC 2022 Bratislava Forum, which takes place this year from 2-4 June, was this year dominated by the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Austria's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg also participated and underlined Austria's positioning - closely at Ukraine's side.

June 3, 2022

Conference On The Future of the EU and Eastern Europe By ERSTE Foundation and IWM

In cooperation with the Institute for Human Sciences (IWM), ERSTE Foundation is organizing the Time To Decide Europe Summit 2022 on the future of the EU, Ukraine, Russia and the Western Balkans. More than 20 leading European intellectuals will develop theses and solutions for Europe, the Western Balkans, Ukraine and Russia.

May 22, 2022

Austrian Leadership Program 2022 Underlines Friendship Between Austria and Western Balkans

The Austrian Leadership Program 2022, the Secretary-General for Foreign Affairs, Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, welcomed 22 selected leaders from the countries of the Western Balkans to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This year's visit program focuses on the topic of "Green Technologies".

May 19, 2022

"Presidency at a Decisive Stage": Czech Republic Receives Austrian Federal Chancellor

Discussions on the Ukraine crisis, the EU's enlargement of the Western Balkans or the benefits of nuclear power in the energy transition led Austria's Federal Chancellor to the Czech Republic, where he met Petr Fiala, the Czech Prime Minister. The Czech Republic is one of Austria's closest trading partners in Central and Eastern Europe. Read on to find out how the Chancellor's visit went.

May 19, 2022

How China's Global Infrastructure Strategy Undermines European Integration in the Western Balkans and Beyond

The accession of the Western Balkans countries into the European Union continues to be a topic of debate amongst the EU Member States. Read how China's global infrastructure strategy may be undermining these countries' aspirations for EU membership.

May 19, 2022

U.S. and UK Sanction Individuals in the Balkans

The Balkan states are plagued by corruption, which only fosters an unstable situation. The Balkans are important for the stability of Europe and especially in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Balkans remain important for the West. That is why the U.S. and UK have sanctioned individuals.

April 13, 2022

Meeting of the C5 in Prague - Central European Countries Discuss Czech Republic's Upcoming Council Presidency

At a meeting of the C5 in Prague, representatives of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary and Austria discussed the consequences for Europe of Russia's war of aggression in Ukraine and discussed the upcoming Czech presidency.

April 13, 2022

Foreign Minister Schallenberg at the Council on Foreign Relations: "Clarify to Putin how reality looks like"

In the course of the Foreign Affairs Council, Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg praised the visit of Karl Nehammer to Moscow and expressed concerns about a coming intensification of violence in Ukraine. Also on the meeting's agenda was stabilization in the Western Balkans and the EU's Global Gateway Strategy. Read on if you want to learn more!

April 11, 2022

Serbian Elections and the Impact on Serbia's Relations to Europe

Serbia has voted and President Vucic remains in power. His party will probably again form the coalition government as the leading party. In the wake of the current war in Ukraine, some wonder if Serbia's path will change after the elections. Read more about the elections and the political situation in Serbia.

April 7, 2022

Security in the Western Balkans: North Macedonia's EU Accession as Stronghold against Putin's Aggression

North Macedonia is one of the prospective countries to enter the European Union. Austrian Minister of European Affairs Karoline Edtstadler visited the country and met with Head of Government Dimitar Kovačevski for talks.

April 1, 2022

Effects of the Ukraine War and Perspectives for the Western Balkans from an Austrian Perspective

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many European countries have been asking themselves security questions related to the immediate neighborhood of the European Union. For Austria, the main question is about its southern neighbors, the Western Balkans.

March 31, 2022

NATO and EU Military Committee Meet Regarding Western Balkans

A joint meeting of the NATO Military Committee and the European Union Military Committee was held to discuss the current security situation in the Western Balkans as well as the EU's ongoing Operation Althea. In the context of the Russian military aggression on Ukraine, stability in the Balkans increases in importance.

March 29, 2022

Nehammer at EU Summit: Russia Sanctions and Western Balkans Support

The EU summit, which was also attended by U.S. President Joe Biden, focused on the political crisis caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Austrian chancellor Karl Nehammer attended the European Council too and expressed the importance of stability in the Balkans. Read about the European Council and the chancellor's visit to Brussels.

March 28, 2022

War in Ukraine: Athens Seeks Talks in Vienna

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias visited Vienna to discuss the intensifying war between Russia and Ukraine. Read about his meetings with various officials and watch the joint press conference with Foreign Minister Schallenberg.

March 10, 2022

Strategic Partnership Update Between the United States and Austria

In light of the unprovoked and premeditated war against Ukraine, during bilateral consultations at the State Department in Washington, D.C., and at the U.S. Embassy in Vienna, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, Secretary General at the Austrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the presence of U.S. Ambassador to Austria Victoria Reggie Kennedy, issued a Joint Statement on the Strategic Dialogue between the United States and Austria, setting forth a strategic partnership between the two countries and a plan to continue the dialogue.

March 8, 2022

The Formation of an Anti-Trafficking Alliance in the Framework of the Joint Coordination Platform

Interior Minister Karner recently hosted the Return Ministerial Conference in Vienna to discuss European migration issues. Read about the conference and the formation of an Anti-trafficking alliance.

February 22, 2022

Schallenberg Met Baerbock - Shared Responsibility Against the Aggression of the Kremlin

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock met with Foreign Minister Schallenberg in Berlin to discuss the tensions between Russia and Ukraine, as well as climate action and the Western Balkans. Read what the two foreign ministers said about these issues.

February 21, 2022

German and Austrian EU Ministers Supportive of Accession Process for Western Balkans

German EU Minister Anna Lührmann met with Austrian EU Minister Karoline Edtstadler in Vienna. Read what they said about EU accession for the Western Balkan states, compulsory vaccination, and more.

February 1, 2022

Priorities of Austrian Foreign Policy in the Face of Numerous Global Challenges in 2022

The Foreign Policy Committee of the Austrian National Council recently met to discuss some of the major global challenges going into 2022. Read which issues they discussed and Austria's stance on them.

December 15, 2021

Inaugural Statement of Austria's New Chancellor: "We Want to Reconcile with History"

Newly appointed Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer delivered his inaugural statement to the National Council. Read what the new chancellor said are some of the key issues his government will focus on.

December 10, 2021

Blinken Thanks Austria for Hosting Iran Nuclear Deal Talks

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken thanked Austria for hosting the Iran nuclear deal talks on his first call with his Austrian counterpart, Foreign Minister Linhart. Read about this and what else Blinken and Linhart talked about on their first call.

December 1, 2021

Austria Donated Unusable Covid Vaccine Doses to Bosnia and Herzegovina

It was recently reported that Bosnia and Herzegovina had to throw out an unknown amount of the 500,000 AstraZeneca Covid vaccination doses that had been donated by Austria. Read more about this and the problem of global vaccine equity.

November 30, 2021

Edtstadler at General Affairs Council: Mandatory Vaccination is Necessary

At a meeting of the EU General Affairs Council in Brussels, Austrian EU Minister Karoline Edtstadler stressed the need for mandatory vaccinations in Austria and coordination in the fight against COVID-19 at the European level. Read Edtstadler's expectations for the European Commission, her defense of compulsory vaccinations, and more.

November 24, 2021

Western Balkans: Foreign Minister Linhart Visits Albania and North Macedonia

Foreign Minister Linhart, accompanied by an Austrian business delegation, visited the Western Balkan States of North Macedonia and Albania. Read about the foreign minister's meetings with various government officials, as well as his meetings with local business people as part of the ReFocus Austria initiative.

November 22, 2021

Austria Welcomes New Sanctions Against Belarus

Foreign Minister Linhart attended the Foreign Affairs Council in Brussels, at which the 27 foreign ministers of the EU agreed upon new sanctions against Belarus. They also discussed other topics, such as the EU enlargement process. Read what was discussed at the meeting and watch an interview with the Austrian foreign minister.

November 16, 2021

Western Balkans: First Foreign Trip of the New Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Linhart

Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Linhart went on his first trip abroad since becoming the foreign minister. Linhart traveled to the Western Balkan state of Bosnia and Herzegovina to meet with members of the international presence, business leaders, and various politicians, including his Bosnian counterpart Bisera Turković. Read more about his trip.

October 15, 2021

EU Support to Western Balkans as Repulsion against China and Turkey

European heads of state and government that make up the European Council, including Chancellor Kurz, met in Slovenia for informal talks and the Western Balkans Summit. In addition to other issues, the leaders discussed the accession of Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo to the EU. Read more about what Kurz and the EU said about the enlargement process.

October 6, 2021

Western Balkans Conference in Wachau: Strengthened Cooperation Agreed

The defense ministers of the Western Balkan states–Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia–were invited to a conference in the Wachau Valley by Austrian Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner. At the conference, they discussed increasing security cooperation between the Western Balkans, the EU, and Austria, as well as EU accession for the Western Balkans.

September 15, 2021

Vučić Hosted Kurz: The "Fight Against Illegal Migration"

Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić recently received Chancellor Kurz in Belgrade. The two of them spoke about illegal migration, especially regarding the refugees fleeing from Afghanistan. Other topics of discussion included bilateral relations and the EU rapprochement process. Kurz also spoke with Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić about EU accession for the Western Balkans.

September 7, 2021

Western Balkans: Further Austrian Corona Solidarity Campaign for all Six States

The final share of promised COVID-19 vaccines was delivered to Bosnia and Herzegovina, ending an EU solidarity campaign led by Austria. A total of 651,000 COVID-19 vaccines from the manufacturer BioNTech/Pfizer were provided to the six Western Balkan states: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

August 30, 2021
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