The road to Brussels

The European Commission (EC) has issued its annual progress reports for the western Balkans, which will serve the European Council in deciding the pace of accession talks in December.

Croatia and Montenegro stood out for their good marks, the former being on track to join in 2013, and the latter to start membership negotiations.

Serbia, too, was cheered for cooperating with the Hague tribunal and strengthening the rule of law, but needs to improve relations with Kosovo in order to start accession talks.

For the remaining states, however, the report registered stagnation, as Albania and Bosnia lack functioning governments since disputed elections in 2009 and 2010, respectively, Macedonia has questionable press freedom, and Kosovo is struggling with corruption.

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