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Fri, Apr 3, 2020

COVID-19 in the Western Balkans

COVID-19 overshadowed two major developments in the region: the EU decision to open membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania, as well as North Macedonia’s formal accession to NATO on March 27. In normal circumstances, this would have been huge news. Yet now the pandemic leaves little bandwidth for other matters, even in the Western Balkans.

New Atlanticist by Dimitar Bechev

Coronavirus Democratic Transitions

Thu, Mar 26, 2020

EU greenlights North Macedonia and Albania membership talks: Breakthrough or symbolic gesture?

"The decision by the EU foreign ministers to open accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania comes at a time when Europe is battling a major public health crisis and is bracing for its economic aftershocks," Dimitar Bechev says. "Keeping enlargement alive speaks volumes about the union’s ability to muddle through."

New Atlanticist by Jörn Fleck

Democratic Transitions European Union

Wed, Mar 25, 2020

Is China winning the coronavirus response narrative in the EU?

With European countries still in the midst of the crisis or anxiously waiting to be hit, it is too soon to tell which narrative will win out in Europe—that of a generous China, whose systems managed to combat the virus, or that of an authoritarian regime, whose initial efforts to cover up the extent of the crisis cost the world valuable preparation time.

New Atlanticist by Atlantic Council

China Coronavirus

Dr. Dimitar Bechev is a senior fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He is also a research fellow at the Center of Slavic, Eurasian, and East European Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the director of the European Policy Institute, a think-tank based in Sofia, Bulgaria.

Dr. Bechev has published extensively, in both academic and policy format, on EU foreign relations, the politics of Turkey and the Balkans, Russian foreign policy, and energy security. His book Rival Power, published by Yale University Press in 2017, explores Russia’s role in Southeast Europe (Balkans, Greece, Cyprus, and Turkey). He has held research and teaching positions at Oxford and Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo as well as visiting fellowships at Harvard and the London School of Economics. From 2010 to 2014, he was the head of the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) office in Sofia.

Dr. Bechev is a frequent contributor to Foreign Policy, Al Jazeera Online, Oxford Analytica, POLITICO, and EUObserver. His quotes have appeared in leading newspapers such as the Financial Times, the Economist, the Wall Street Journal, and the New York Times. He holds a DPhil in international relations from the University of Oxford.