BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Serbia won the green light on Friday to start negotiations by January on joining the European Union, capping a remarkable transformation in the prospects of the former Yugoslavia since the wars of the 1990s.
The decision, taken at an EU summit, rewards Belgrade for an April deal to improve relations with its former province of Kosovo, which broke away from Serbia in a 1998-99 guerrilla war.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Serbia could start negotiations on joining the European Union by January next year, EU ministers agreed on Tuesday, rewarding Belgrade for improving relations with its ex-province Kosovo.
Ministers also agreed the EU should launch preparations with Kosovo on a so-called association agreement, a step on the path to eventual EU membership that can carry economic benefits.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – The European Union rebuked Turkey on Tuesday for its crackdown on anti-government protesters, postponing a new round of membership talks for at least four months, but said the path to the EU remained open.
The EU move, discussed in advance with Turkey, drew a mild response from Ankara and avoided a crisis in their relations.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – European Union ministers said they were hopeful of reaching an agreement on Tuesday that would delay reviving membership talks with Turkey to signal European concerns over Ankara’s handling of weeks of protests.
Germany, backed by several other states, has blocked an EU proposal to open a new chapter, or policy area, in slow-moving membership talks with Turkey on Wednesday because it believes it would send the wrong signal so soon after the crackdown.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – Germany proposed on Monday postponing a new round of European Union membership talks with Turkey by about four months to signal EU displeasure at Ankara’s handling of anti-government protests.
The EU had planned to revive Turkey’s EU ambitions on Wednesday by opening a new chapter, or policy area, in its EU membership talks – the first opened since 2010.
LUXEMBOURG (Reuters) – European Union ministers clashed over whether to revive membership talks with Turkey on Monday with several countries joining Germany in arguing it would send the wrong signal to reward Ankara after a crackdown on protests.
The objections of Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and others make it likely that the EU will cancel or postpone talks scheduled for Wednesday, raising new doubts about whether it will ever be admitted to the European club.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union is on the verge of scrapping a new round of membership talks with Turkey, a move that would further undermine Ankara’s already slim hopes of joining the bloc anytime soon and damage its relations with Brussels.
Germany, the EU’s biggest economic power, is blocking efforts to revive Turkey’s EU membership bid, partly because of its handling of anti-government protests that have swept the country in the last few weeks, EU sources say.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Most European allies are “hollowing out” their armies as they slash Defense spending, casting doubt on whether Europe can remain a viable military partner of the United States, the outgoing U.S. ambassador to NATO said on Monday.
Many Western European countries have slashed Defense spending in response to austerity induced by the 2008 financial crisis and the United States now accounts for nearly three-quarters of total NATO Defense spending, Ivo Daalder said.
ZARAGOZA, Spain (Reuters) – At military exercises in northern Spain, French and Spanish fighters fly alongside Swedish and Czech transport aircraft while a multinational team of mechanics changes the engine on a Belgian plane.
On display is “pooling and sharing” – the idea that cash-strapped European allies can retain their military muscle and keep their budgets in check by cooperating on how they buy and operate costly yet critical defence equipment.
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Wednesday it was unacceptable for Russian forces to put up a fence on the border of Georgia’s breakaway province of South Ossetia, believing it could further inflame tensions in the region.
But he also chided Georgia, which wants to join NATO and the European Union, over the arrest of former officials.