Balkan armies benefit from NATO training

SETimes, 20.1.2014.

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The last Macedonian contingent trained with the US army in Germany, and is fully trained to carry out its responsibility to train the Afghan military as well as guard the main ISAF command in Kabul, said Mirce Gjorgjoski, spokesperson for the Macedonian military.

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EU-Russia: overcoming stagnation

Nicu Popescu, European Union Institute for Security Studies, January 2014

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For the best part of the last two decades, EU-Russia summits have alternated between being upbeat events where new grand integration initiatives were launched – the creation of four common spaces in 2005, the partnership for modernisation in 2010 – and rather unfriendly encounters where success was seemingly measured on how impolite the partners could be to one another.

Read the full paper here.

The South stream saga continues

ECFR, 14.1.2014.

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At the end of January we will witness another EU-Russia summit and tension are already rising. Earlier this week, Vladimir Chizhov, Moscow’s ambassador to the EU, bluntly argued that the deals signed by six member-states plus Serbia on the South Stream gas pipeline were not up for revision. It was for Brussels to adapt its legislation to the intergovernmental agreements (IGAs), not the other way around. This is a direct challenge to the Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger.

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Serbia's relations with NATO: The other (quieter) game in town

Central European Policy Institute, January 2014

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While all eyes are set on the formal opening of the EU membership talks with Serbia on 21 January 2014, this policy brief explores the prospects for Belgrade’s closer cooperation with NATO. While the EU’s accession process is the force majeure dominating current political and economic development in the Western Balkans, the regional security architecture is still based on NATO. EU and NATO integration are still considered as mutually reinforcing processes. The main focus in Serbia has shifted to “soft security” issues such as rule of law, justice affairs and fight against corruption, where the EU is in the driving seat.

Read the policy brief here.