Week In Review: Tinker, Tailor, Balkan Spy

Fresh Thinking

North Macedonian President Stevo Pendarovski cuts a very different figure from Gjorgje Ivanov, his predecessor. Ivanov was often jokingly referred to as a 'ficus', or house plant, due to his passivity. The same cannot be said of Pendarovski.

Although his formal powers are limited, he certainly keeps himself busy, and visible on the political and international scene. In his interview for BIRN, Pendarovski discusses North Macedonia's - and the Western Balkans' - enlargement prospects, particularly in light of his recent meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron. All is not lost, argues Pendarovski, shedding new light on French thinking on enlargement, as well as a host of other regional issues.

Read more: North Macedonia President to Fight for EU Dream (November 21, 2019)

I Spy With My Little Eye…

Supporters of Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic wave flags and show a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Serbia, 19 April 2019. EPA-EFE/ANDREJ CUKIC

There's nothing like a good spy story to instantly grab attention, locally and internationally. This week, a released video, filmed a year ago, of a Russian diplomat meeting a retired Serbian army officer and handing him a bag with cash in it, has set off an avalanche of speculation.

What were they up to? And how will the video's release and the revelations impact relations between Belgrade and Moscow, ahead of a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in early December. Our analysis seeks to provide answers to these questions.

Read more: Spy Scandal Tests Russian-Serbian 'Special Relationship' (November 22, 2019)

The Other Unknown...

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