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Officials from Germany, Poland, Bulgaria and North Macedonia shake hands at the Western Balkans Summit in Poznan, Poland in July 2019

The EU presses pause on Western Balkans enlargement

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to put EU expansion on hold while the bloc reforms itself and the European Commission has downplayed any potential for Western Balkans countries to join the bloc soon. Meanwhile, the region languishes in limbo – the continuous delays make tackling corruption less urgent for their political elites, perpetuating a vicious cycle. Accession now only looks possible by 2030 at the very earliest, and the wait could have disastrous effects for the region.

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Regime change in Venezuela: the army will decide when

With the plight of Venezuelans getting worse by the day, it seems strange that the public outcry has not managed to oust President Nicolas Maduro. However, as far back as 2016, GIS guest expert Dr. Anthony Maingot pointed out that this was to be expected. President Maduro’s ability to remain in power “shows that words like ‘crisis’ and ‘intolerable’ are relative,” he wrote. The real arbiter of power in Venezuela is the military, which remains in President Maduro’s corner because the profits from drug trafficking keep lining the generals’ pockets. As long as this remained the case, the army would be willing to keep Mr. Maduro in power. If supplies of cocaine from Colombia were to fall, then competition could splinter the army and, “in return for legal immunity and control of the narcotics trade, the military will support new elections.”

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Geopolitics are back on the agenda

Due to the fast changing international order geopolitics are back on the agenda. I believe that GIS makes a great contribution with analyses and insights that should help businesses and governments developing their responses.

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