It has been 18 years since the Republic of North Macedonia received the status of a candidate country for EU accession. The children born on the historical day when North Macedonia became an official EU candidate are coming of age this year and are on the doorstep of the student campuses. Yet, even though new constitutional changes have been set in place in favor of the neighbors, it is unclear when North Macedonia will join the EU.
Austria’s longstanding tradition of permanent neutrality is an integral part of the country’s identity and its approach to international politics. However, the flimsy and incoherent interpretation of it not only demonstrates that there is little consensus on how its neutrality policy should be exercised but also makes it a useful smokescreen to justify politicians’ behaviour and connections to certain states, such as Russia. As Sweden and Finland are giving up their neutrality to join NATO, some argue, it is time to rethink Austria’s neutrality too and finally develop a coherent neutrality policy.
Against the backdrop of historical great power competition, Africa can today create a tremendous impact on the global arena. While China is currently gaining foothold on the continent with its increased investments, infrastructure projects and trade, also Russia has an interest in maintaining good relationships with African states, leaving the EU and the U.S. struggling for their space in the equation. In the end, a Cold War-like rivalry over Africa between the West and the China-Russia strategic alliance could ensue.