British Prime Minister David Cameron and Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydlo during a press conference, Warsaw, Poland, Feb. 5, 2016 (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski).

BELGRADE, Serbia—The perceived threat of millions of immigrants from the western Balkans and Turkey, and the status of citizens from Central Europe living in the United Kingdom, have become touchstone issues in the British referendum on whether or not to stay in the EU. But little attention has been paid the other way, to the impact of a potential Brexit on Central and Eastern Europe, a region extending from Poland, the union’s sixth-most-populous member, to Kosovo, which has its own distant aspirations of membership. As polling in the U.K. has showed more support for the “leave” vote, discomfort has grown […]

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the head of the ruling Law and Justice party, delivers a speech, May 2, 2016, Warsaw, Poland (AP photo by Czarek Sokolowski).

Last week, the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union, released an opinion accusing Poland’s government of endangering the rule of law and violating the EU’s democratic principles. The report is the first step in a process that could lead to EU sanctions on Warsaw, including the suspension of voting rights in EU deliberations, and comes after a months-long investigation into changes made to Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal. Many observers have called the changes, which have plunged Poland into a constitutional crisis, undemocratic. The crisis began last October, when the previous right-of-center government led by the Civic Platform party, […]

Protesters use a slingshot to throw balloons filled with colored paint on the main government building, Skopje, Macedonia, June 6, 2016 (AP photo by Boris Grdanoski).

BELGRADE, Serbia—Sixteen months after its rumbling political crisis erupted with allegations of government wire-tapping—which exposed abuses like corruption, voter fraud, the suppression of free media, and attempts to manipulate the judiciary—Macedonia remains in limbo. The country’s predicament has raised concerns that it could pull its neighbors into a new Balkan conflagration. It has also revealed the shortcomings of the European Union’s approach to the region at a time when Macedonia’s path toward EU membership is looking as precarious as ever. In an interview with WPR, Macedonian Foreign Minister Nikola Poposki says that “a stable Balkans goes through a stable Macedonia. […]

A demonstration in support of refugees and migrants entering Europe, Barcelona, Spain, March 19, 2016 (AP photo by Emilio Morenatti).

BARCELONA, Spain—The countries around the Mediterranean basin are a diverse lot, ranging from the European Union and NATO’s southernmost members to the states of the Balkans, the Middle East and North Africa. One thing almost all of them share is a constant tension from the seemingly contradictory trends toward separation and integration. In the early 21st century, each trajectory has its appeal in this maritime region, but neither represents a panacea. Over time, the Mediterranean will continue to teach us about independence, interdependence and integration as parts of a natural cycle for states and societies. Traveling from the lands of […]

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras welcomes Russian President Vladimir Putin, Athens, Greece, May 27, 2016 (AP photo by Petros Giannakouris).

Last Friday, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic made an unannounced visit to Moscow. The trip came amid reports of Russian concern with Serbia’s overtures to the West, including taking steps toward joining the European Union. Later that day, Russian President Vladimir Putin headed to Greece, where he discussed energy cooperation and investment with Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, before visiting the male-only Monastery of St. Panteleimon on Mount Athos with the head of Russia’s Orthodox Church. The trip was Putin’s first to an EU country this year, as the debate heats up in Brussels over renewing EU sanctions against Russia […]