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.
A harsh winter and a decline in investments slowed growth in the Western Balkans in 2017 even though 190,000 new jobs were created, says a report from the World Bank which has called for structural reforms in the region.
Vote on transfer of ownership to central government that will pave the way for more investment in former "airport with no passengers" delayed amid protests in Serbia's second city.
The European Commission's new progress reports for the six Western Balkan countries, including Albania, are expected next week. Crucially, they will evaluate performance against delivery of the required reforms as part of the EU accession process
Central Europe is facing a growing labour shortage crisis that could limit growth if solutions are not found. Ukraine has already been a big winner but cannot solve the problem by itsself.
Arrest of senior Serb official who claims he was "dragged along the ground like a dog" by Kosovan police has inflamed tensions in northern Kosovo and led Serb ministers to resign from the government.