“When the Berlin Process was launched five years ago, it was supposed to trigger a new dynamic to regional cooperation and bringing the Western Balkans closer towards the EU. By circumventing formal institutional structures and bringing in all EU members, the process could avoid excessive duplication of existing structures, avoid navigating the bothersome difficulties individual member states brought to the table, like Spain’s intransigence towards Kosovo’s independence and Greece’s difficult relations with its northern neighbor Macedonia.

Much has changed since the initial meeting in Berlin. Cooperation has increased among the Western Balkan countries significantly and a number of projects and initiatives have been launched, and bilateral relations have improved, in particular between Macedonia and both Bulgaria and Greece. Nevertheless, the Berlin process is in shambles. However, this is not due to the Western Balkans, but the EU members that are participating.

Already France, when it took over hosting the summit two years ago, seemed more interested organizing the meeting in Paris for its own vanity than out of genuine interest or commitment towards the region. This was confirmed by the recent petty blockade over giving Macedonian and Albanian a concrete date to begin accession talks this year.” (full text at European Western Balkans)