A collection of the “BalkaNewsletters” from the Natolin Friends of the Balkans Society

The Natolin Friends of the Balkans society, founded by a group of students of the College of Europe in Natolin, is proud to present the BalkaNewsletters that have been written the last academic year. The newsletters have focused on current political, economic, and cultural issues in the region. The aim was to enable all students from the Hannah Arendt promotion with a compact overview of actualities and provide background information on some of the events in the region, such as elections, the European integration process in general, and updates on the situation with COVID-19.

Activities of the Friends of the Balkans society

The newsletters have only been one part of the Friends of the Balkans society activities. A small team of ten student organised different film screenings on campus, engaged in cultural explorations of the Balkan cuisine in Warsaw and held lectures from students who have been in the Balkans to share their experiences. Besides that, one flagship event was organised: a lecture focusing on “The Current State of Enlargement as Seen from Albania and North Macedonia” followed by an open discussion called “From FYROM to North Macedonia: Settling the name dispute”, with H.E. Ambassador Matthew NIMETZ, former UN Special Representative for the Naming Dispute. During this event, the society discussed the name-dispute between Greece and Macedonia, the Prespa Agreement and got some ‘behind the scenes’ information that led to this historic diplomatic success.

 "It all started with the realization that there was the opportunity to start a society dedicated completely to the Balkans with the aim to not only discuss the region from an academic perspective but to find multiple ways to bring it to our fellow students' attention. Committed members of the society answered a call to continue to adventure started by the Manuel Marín Promotion. They made the Friends of the Balkans thrive, keeping the activities going even during the lockdown.

As the time has come for the Mário Soares Promotion to come to Natolin, we, the current members of the Natolin Friends of the Balkans of the Hannah Arendt Promotion would love to see our project continue. It is not only an interest for the region as a geopolitical complex and sensitive for the future of the European Union. It is also a genuine interest in the culture, music and history of this so diverse place that we tried to foster.

Nowadays, members of the Hannah Arendt Friends of the Balkans are following an internship in a Serbian think-tank or about to move to Bosnia-Herzegovina this fall. The Friends of the Balkans has also the role to deepen their interest, for those who are not afraid to dive into the complex but fascinating issues of the region. By fostering the Western Balkans at the College of Europe, it also brings its symbolic value. To promote the achievement of the EU’s original goal, by integrating into a peace and prosperity project a region that suffers from a difficult post-war recovery. That is also the aim of the Friends of the Balkans.”

- Grégoire SORIA-METAIS, President of the Friends of the Balkans Society

The Friends of the Balkan Society strongly encourages the Mário Soares Promotion to continue their work one way or the other!

BalkaNewsletters Vol.5 - Download here


  • "Pursuing a career in a think tank in the Western Balkan - Interview with Ms Lazarevic from the European Policy Centre in Belgrade", by Louise Guillon
  • "Secession or recession for Bosnia and Herzegovina"? by Federica Woelk;
  • "Kosovo: The overthrow of Kurti's government", by Louise Guillon;
  • "EU-Western Balkans Zagreb summit", by Annamaria Levai.

BalkaNewsletters Vol.4 - Download here


  • "Kosovo's unpredictable weather forecast?" by Iris Van Loon;
  • "NATO bombings in Serbia and their environmental consequences", by Louise Guillon;
  • "Earthquake wakes up Croatia on a Sunday morning", by Grégoire Soria;
  • "Opening of the Turkish border: Multiple reactions in the Balkans", by Louise Guillon;
  • "Opening of EU negotiations to Albania and North Macedonia", by Grégoire Soria;
  • "Study trip to the Balkans - Our online itinerary."

BalkaNewsletters Vol.3 - Download here


  • "Chinese policemen on Serbian streets", by Louise Guillon;
  • "Wind of change in Kosovo", by Grégoire Soria;
  • "The current state of EU enlargement as seen from Albania & North Macedonia", by Bernhard Moshammer;
  • "€1.15 billion for Albania", by Louise Guillon;
  • "The Commission's new enlargement methodology", by Annamaria Levai.

BalkaNewsletters Vol.2 - Download here


  • "Handke's controversial Nobel prize", by Federica Woelk;

  • "Reforming the EU accession procedure: the French turnaround", by Louise Guillon;

  • "The Banquet in Blitva, M. Krleza", by Louise Guillon;

  • "Démission fracassante à Skopje, sur fond de désanchantement européen", by Grégoire Soria.

BalkaNewsletters Vol. 1 - Download here


  • "Judiciary in Bosnia and Herzegovina", by Federica Woelk;

  • "Erdogan and the Balkans", by Louise Guillon;

  • "The European butterfly effect towards North Macedonia", by Grégoire Soria;

  • "Serbia's deal with the EEU", by Louise Guillon;

  • "Elections in Kosovo", by Grejs Gjergji.

A special thanks goes to all of BalkaNewsletters contributors and active members as well as to GUILLON, Louise and SMITH, Robert for their editing skills:

GJERGJI Grejs GUILLON Louise (Chief-Editor) SORIA-METAIS Grégoire (President) MOSHAMMER Bernhard (Communication Officer/Vice-President) VAN LOON Iris SMITH Robert (Editor) WOELK Federica LEVAI Annamaria