First summit in 15 years intended to demonstrate the EU’s commitment to the region, which has been neglected for years, allowing rival powers to extend their influence.
RSF report blames collusion between media, politicians and oligarchs for abysmal state of press freedom in Bulgaria, and accuses officials of using EU funds to bribe media to go easy on the government.
European Commission recommends start of accession negotiations for Albania and Macedonia, but French President Macron says Paris will oppose any enlargement until the EU reconfigures post-Brexit.
Balkan opposition parties are increasingly resorting to violence in their hopeless struggle to dislodge entrenched ruling elites.
Macedonia described as the "most promising chance for a democratic breakthrough" in Europe, as prospects for democracy look bleak in majority of post-communist states.