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Der Standard - Austria | Thursday, July 16, 2015

EU lacks a plan for the Balkans

After the 15-month boycott of parliament staged by the opposition in Macedonia the EU has mediated an agreement between the parties in Skopje and prevented the political crisis from escalating further. In the medium to long term Brussels will need to come up with a new plan for Southeast Europe, the centre-left daily Der Standard warns: "The last few years have shown that those who reject reform are getting their way, that EU integration is no longer a goal for the politicians, that clientelism is worsening and that nationalism remains the number one political vehicle. And as long as unemployment and the lack of prospects remain so prevalent, this won't change. The EU could exert more pressure by cutting off its funds. In the long term a Marshall Plan for economic development would help - like the one being demanded for Greece, but for the entire Balkan region."

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