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While Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy received a rock-star reception in Vilnius, many allies weren't happy with his blunt criticism. The feeling was that he went a bit over the top and was too emotional.

Welcome to Wider Europe, RFE/RL's newsletter focusing on the key issues concerning the European Union, NATO, and other institutions and their relationships with the Western Balkans and Europe's Eastern neighborhoods.

I'm RFE/RL Europe Editor Rikard Jozwiak, and this week I'm looking at last week's NATO summit in Vilnius. What did Ukraine actually achieve there, and how will the West help Kyiv going forward?

Brief #1: How Did Ukraine Fare At The NATO Summit In Vilnius?

What You Need To Know: NATO summits tend to be rather drab affairs. Most announcements are known well in advance and the official summit communique that runs to several pages of technocratic prose normally just gets a cursory look by disinterested media.

Not so at the Vilnius summit on July 11-12. The document was eagerly scrutinized for words indicating if or when Ukraine could join the military alliance. Emotions were running high: from the first crushing disappointment, if not downright anger, expressed by the Ukrainian leadership about what was offered to them, to a second day of reconciliation of sorts, and smiles, albeit slightly forced.

To understand what all the fuss is about, one must go back to the NATO summit in Bucharest in 2008 when Ukraine (as well as Georgia) got the thumbs-up to join the alliance but were offered no concrete pathway or timeline. What Kyiv and many NATO members, notably in the east, wanted in Vilnius was to go beyond the Bucharest declaration. The phrase I heard most in the run-up to the meeting was to "avoid another Bucharest."

Comparing the Vilnius and Bucharest declarations, it is fair to say that Kyiv got a "Bucharest 2.0" or perhaps a "Bucharest+." It has inched closer to NATO, but only a little. The Bucharest text stated that "NATO welcomes Ukraine's and Georgia's Euro-Atlantic aspirations for membership in NATO. We agreed today that these countries will become members of NATO." It then describes the way forward, by stating that "MAP is the next step for Ukraine and Georgia on their direct way to membership." MAP, meaning Membership Action Plan, was a NATO membership waiting room of sorts that many Central and Eastern European candidates were placed in before joining, in which they had to undertake specific political and military reforms.

Deep Background: The Vilnius declaration is linguistically more forward-leaning. It states that "Ukraine's future is in NATO." It then noted that "we reaffirm the commitment we made at the 2008 summit in Bucharest that Ukraine will become a member of NATO, and today we recognize that Ukraine's path to full Euro-Atlantic integration has moved beyond the need for the Membership Action Plan." The MAP being removed was consistent with Finland's and Sweden's routes to joining the alliance.

This new status, in the words of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, "will change Ukraine's membership path from a two-step process to a one-step process." Yet, the process isn't entirely clear, and what has truly frustrated the Ukrainians was the final sentence of that paragraph that underlines that "we will be in a position to extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the Alliance when Allies agree and conditions are met." Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy tweeted that it's "unprecedented and absurd when [the] timeframe is not set neither for the invitation nor for Ukraine's membership. While at the same time vague wording about "conditions" is added even for inviting Ukraine."

Drilling Down

  • Some NATO officials -- speaking on the condition of anonymity -- say that it was a miracle that the word "invitation" was included at all. This goes further than anything before, although arguably means nothing without time frames and pathways.
  • It is also interesting to note that the conditions are not spelled out. Stoltenberg was pressed on this continuously at summit press conferences, and he vaguely mentioned issues such as the need for Kyiv to "strengthen their governance, including fighting corruption." But for Zelenskiy it was clear that Ukraine will be invited once the war is over, and he said that he "hadn't heard any other opinion in the room."
  • I was told by diplomats not authorized to speak on the record that the reason why NATO didn't spell out explicitly that Ukraine will become a member upon a successful resolution of the war is that this would invite Russia to continue the fighting indefinitely, even just by rocket strikes on Ukrainian territory in a bid to constantly keep Kyiv from joining the alliance.
  • When it comes to time frames and pathways, what Ukraine's closest friends in the alliance wanted in the text -- but didn't get -- was some signposting of the next steps -- for example, an explicit mention of a NATO ministerial meeting in the fall to discuss the issue, or even making reference to taking stock of the situation at the NATO summit in Washington in July 2024.
  • In this sense, the 2008 Bucharest declaration was actually more promising. There it was stated that "we have asked foreign ministers to make a first assessment of progress at their December 2008 meeting." That assessment, though, never came, as Russia's attack on Georgia in August 2008 derailed the entire process.
  • Another phrase that didn't make it into the Vilnius declaration was "Ukraine's rightful place is in NATO" -- a sentence Stoltenberg used when he visited Kyiv earlier this year. In fact, diplomats told me the declaration text had pretty much remained the same since the NATO foreign ministerial meeting in Oslo in May when the outlines of the documents were first discussed behind closed doors.
  • Those outlines became what NATO, in fact, offered Ukraine in Vilnius: no MAP needed, the creation of a NATO-Ukraine Council to upgrade formal political relations, and a multiyear assistance program worth 500 million euros ($562 million) a year.
  • What was clear was that the United States, but also Germany, didn't want to go any further. When asked why, I got two explanations from various diplomats I spoke to. One was the fear of edging closer to offering Ukraine Article 5 protection -- NATO's mutual-defense clause -- that could lead the military alliance into direct confrontation with Moscow. The other was the U.S. presidential election next year. That means that it's likely little can be expected at the NATO Washington summit next summer -- which will be taking place in the middle of an election campaign.
  • With that in mind, it was interesting to watch U.S. President Joe Biden. He didn't hold a press conference, which is rather unusual for an American president attending a NATO summit, and he skipped the dinner with other heads of state and governments. He did, however, have a long sit-down with Zelenskiy and delivered a rousing speech at Vilnius University after the summit in which he said that "we will not waver, our commitment to Ukraine will not weaken. We will stand for liberty and freedom today, tomorrow, and for as long as it takes."

Brief #2: How The G7 Countries Might Help Ukraine

What You Need To Know: What did lighten the mood on the second and final day of the NATO summit was the security commitments -- both political and military -- offered to Ukraine while it waits to become a full member. Just as with the summit declaration and Ukraine's membership quest, much of this is about semantics. What most NATO officials think (but don't say out loud) is that NATO can, in fact, only offer one such security guarantee -- and that is membership. And that was not on the table.

At the same time, Kyiv doesn't like the word "assurances." That was offered to Ukraine in the Budapest Memorandum of 1994 by the United Kingdom, the United States, and notably Russia, in exchange for giving up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons. These assurances ultimately meant nothing as Russia annexed Crimea in 2014 and later that same year fueled a war in the eastern parts of Ukraine that eventually led to the Russian full-scale invasion of the country in February 2022.

What instead happened was that the G7 leaders, who were all gathered in Vilnius, agreed on a "joint declaration of support to Ukraine" on the sidelines of the NATO summit. Biden described it as "a powerful statement of our commitment to Ukraine as it defends its freedom today and as it rebuilds its future." And Zelenskiy, standing alongside the U.S. leader, noted that "the Ukrainian delegation is bringing home significant security victories for Ukraine, for our country, for our people, for our children."

Deep Background: Many questions still remain. What exactly is being offered by the West's leading democracies from the G7? From when does it apply? And will it be ironclad guarantees or something weaker? Looking at the G7 declaration, it is stated that "today we are launching negotiations with Ukraine to formalize -- through bilateral security commitments and arrangements aligned with this multilateral framework, in accordance with our respective legal and constitutional requirements -- our enduring support to Ukraine as it defends its sovereignty and territorial integrity, rebuilds its economy, protects its citizens, and pursues integration into the Euro-Atlantic community."

Two things stand out immediately. The wording "commitments and arrangements" are clearly weaker than "guarantees." On the other hand, the fact that these future bilateral deals with G7 members need to be formalized "in accordance with our respective legal and constitutional requirements" means that national parliaments in the respective G7 countries must back them. And this gives them political weight. Ultimately this will be a question about how fast these deals can be negotiated -- and how much money or arms will be sent Kyiv's way.

Drilling Down

  • Notably, the G7 statement talks about discussions starting "immediately" and that the commitments will include "ensuring sustainable force capable of defending Ukraine now and deterring Russian aggression in the future" before outlining a number of areas of support, such as air defense, artillery and long-range missiles, armored vehicles, as well as training of Ukrainian forces and boosting cybersecurity and intelligence sharing.
  • To me, the most interesting paragraph is the following: "In the event of future Russian armed attack, we intend to immediately consult with Ukraine to determine appropriate next steps. We intend, in accordance with our respective legal and constitutional requirements, to provide Ukraine with swift and sustained security assistance, modern military equipment across land, sea, and air domains, and economic assistance, to impose economic and other costs on Russia."
  • Although I didn't manage to get any real clarification from officials or analysts on what a "future Russian armed attack" means in the context of what has been an ongoing war, my reading of the text is that this sentence implies longer-term arrangements, especially in the case that a negotiated cease-fire was broken by Russia further down the road.
  • Ultimately, for now, Ukraine must rely on Western arms deliveries. In the run-up to the summit, France announced that it would supply Kyiv with long-range cruise missiles and the United States said that it would provide cluster munitions -- a move that horrified several European partners who have banned the use of them but that Zelenskiy described as "fair," noting that Russian forces have been pounding Ukraine with cluster munitions for a long time already.
  • The next question is whether the United States will send its long-range artillery weapons -- Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS) -- to Ukraine. When asked, Zelenskiy said with a dry smile, "I don't know," and added, "There are conversations, but not everything at once."
  • A lot will now depend on how Ukraine is faring on the battlefield with what it has received so far. Diplomats I have spoken to concede that some sort of Ukrainian military success must arrive this year as the European Union and crucially the United States will shift focus to big elections in 2024.
  • A lot will now depend on Zelenskiy's power of persuasion. While he was getting a rock-star reception by adoring crowds wherever he went in Vilnius, many allies of Ukraine weren't particularly keen on his forthright criticism of them on Twitter. From speaking to officials from some of Ukraine's closest allies, who weren't authorized to speak on the record, the feeling was that the Ukrainian president went a bit over the top and was too emotional.
  • Perhaps the most memorable statement from the entire summit was that of British Defense Minister Ben Wallace, who is much-admired in Ukraine. He told British journalists at the summit that the U.K. was not the online retailer Amazon when it came to supplying arms and that Western countries would like to see some more gratitude for what they are doing for Kyiv. Shortly after the summit, Wallace announced that he will step down from his role at the next U.K. cabinet reshuffle, which sources told the BBC is expected in September.
  • Hanging over all of this discussion and diplomacy have been reports about U.S. back-channel negotiations with Russian officials on some sort of settlement of the war. If such talks did take place, the Biden administration has said they were not sanctioned or supported by the White House. I spoke to a few well-placed European officials who said that the United States is still considering a future status of Ukraine as a neutral, non-NATO country to be a useful bargaining chip with the Kremlin in future talks.

Looking Ahead

On July 17-18, there will be a summit between the EU and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) in Brussels. It's the first such meeting since 2015, and the talk in the run-up to this one has centered around the final summit declaration and the EU being supposedly upset that the CELAC countries have insisted on scrubbing the draft text of any references to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Later this week, on July 20, EU foreign ministers will gather in Brussels for their monthly meeting. Ukraine will, of course, feature prominently, but look out for their lunch discussion on Turkey and the state of play in EU-Ankara relations. Just before the NATO Vilnius summit, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan implored the EU to revive Turkey's stalled membership bid as a precondition for Sweden joining NATO, so it's possible the ministers could discuss a potential visa deal with Ankara or ways to upgrade Turkey's aging customs union with the EU.

That's all for this week. Feel free to reach out to me on any of these issues on Twitter @RikardJozwiak, or on e-mail at

Until next time,

Richard Jozwiak

If you enjoyed this briefing and don't want to miss the next edition, subscribe here.


The NATO flag flies over the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius, which is hosting a gathering of the alliance's leaders this week.

Welcome to Wider Europe, RFE/RL's newsletter focusing on the key issues concerning the European Union, NATO, and other institutions and their relationships with the Western Balkans and Europe's Eastern neighborhoods. To subscribe, click here.

I'm RFE/RL Europe Editor Rikard Jozwiak, and this week I'm drilling down on four things to watch for at the NATO summit in Vilnius on July 11-12: what Ukraine can expect; Sweden’s membership prospects; the alliance’s defense plans; and the bloc’s relationship with other partners.

Brief #1: What Will Ukraine Get?

What You Need To Know: For Ukraine, this summit is about avoiding another “Bucharest” or “Budapest.” “Bucharest” refers to the 2008 NATO summit in the Romanian capital at which the military alliance famously stated that Ukraine (and Georgia) would become members but avoided any specific timetable or pathway.

Everyone is acutely aware that the NATO summit declaration in Vilnius won’t invite Kyiv to become a member then and there.

No one around the table has any appetite for giving a country in the middle of a war Article 5 guarantees (making an attack on any NATO member an attack on all). Instead, they will try to find a way to promise Ukraine membership once things look better.

That’s where “Budapest” comes into play.

It’s a reference to a trio of 1994 memorandums in which Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States gave security assurances to Ukraine (and Belarus and Kazakhstan) in exchange for Kyiv giving up its Soviet-era nuclear weapons.

While Ukraine awaits possible NATO membership, it wants “guarantees” or “assurances” that the West will continue to support it militarily. Quite how this might be spelled out will remain one of the summit’s head-scratchers.

Drilling Down

  • Most NATO officials I’ve spoken to quietly concede that there is really just one ironclad security guarantee: NATO membership. That’s something that Finland and Sweden realized (more on that in a moment) when applying to join so quickly after the invasion. All other measures, such as security assurances, can essentially only be offered on a bilateral basis by alliance members.
  • It could be that a group of nations in the run-up to the summit or in Vilnius will pledge to support Ukraine militarily for “as long at it takes” by providing more weapons, ammunition, or even training for Ukrainian troops. Don’t rule out the possibility of a separate Group of Seven statement to that effect either, especially as all members of that group will be in Vilnius. (Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida will also attend.)
  • What NATO will offer as an organization is a pot of 500 million euros ($538 million) a year for the foreseeable future to assist Ukraine on various military expenditures. This sum could potentially grow in the future, too.
  • Otherwise, the biggest issue lies in semantics: How can a declaration be written so as to avoid another “Bucharest” and not disappoint Ukraine but at the same time reassure cautious countries like the United States and Germany? They are wary of any membership commitment in wartime against a nuclear-armed Russia, as evidenced by U.S. President Joe Biden’s warning that there’s not “unanimity” on Ukrainian membership “at this moment, in the middle of a war.”
  • One way might be to state that Kyiv will join once “conditions” or “consequences” allow, and perhaps even to describe them explicitly. It could be that some sort of pathway will also be spelled out -- for example that NATO allies will issue an assessment or return to the question at the next summit, in Washington, D.C., next summer.
  • Ukraine is also fighting to avoid a requirement for a Membership Action Plan (MAP) before it can join. A MAP is a sort of NATO membership “antechamber” in which the aspirant gets a tailor-made national program to prepare for future membership, and it could cover not only defense aspects but also political, security, and legal issues that the alliance thinks need to be addressed. Many of the current Central and Eastern European NATO members needed a MAP before joining. But there are indications from officials that Kyiv won’t need one -- just as Finland and Sweden weren’t required to have one before starting the membership process.
  • In the end, the biggest question is whether Ukrainians will be satisfied with the outcome of the summit. While it is very much expected that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy will show up, there have been persistent rumors that he is toying with the idea of not coming if he feels the summit isn’t ambitious enough. Still, most expect him to be there and to co-chair the inaugural NATO-Ukraine Council -- an updated political relationship in which Kyiv will be sitting at the table as a sort of coequal, with the right to call meetings with the military alliance whenever it sees fit.

Brief #2: Sweden's NATO Accession?

What You Need To Know: This is an issue that not many NATO officials expected would drag on for so long. Sweden applied to join alongside Finland in the spring of 2022 as a direct consequence of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and many diplomats expected the process to be wrapped up by autumn.

But Ankara had other plans.

Before green-lighting membership, Turkey demanded that the Nordic pair, or more specifically Sweden, lift an arms embargo against Turkey, update its counterterror legislation, and extradite individuals whom Turkey has deemed to have been engaged in terrorist activities.

While Turkey agreed that both Sweden and Finland would join at the NATO summit in Madrid last year, Ankara withheld ratification of the Accession Protocols until progress was made.

Issues with Sweden, notably demonstrations in Stockholm that included the burning of a Koran, particularly strained Ankara-Stockholm relations before Finland decoupled and joined NATO alone in early April.

Drilling Down

  • There are essentially two ways this can go: There could be a repeat of the Madrid summit in which Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan meets with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Vilnius a day before the start of the summit to seek an agreement, paving the way for ratification in the Turkish parliament in July or the autumn; or the pair could end up holding “constructive talks” in the Lithuanian capital that conclude with more work still to be done at various diplomatic levels.
  • NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg met with the foreign ministers and intelligence and security chiefs of Finland, Sweden, and Turkey on July 6 to try to iron out lingering details ahead of Vilnius. He described the meeting afterward as “productive” and suggested it is “possible to have a positive decision” the week of the summit.
  • NATO officials I’ve spoken to on condition of anonymity believe Erdogan still would like to be viewed as a key statesman and agree on something once full media attention is directed at the summit. They note that expectations were low approaching the Madrid summit as well, but say face-to-face talks at the highest level then paved the way for an agreement.
  • They do, however, note that there might be another meeting needed as well: between Erdogan and Biden, at which the latter could promise American deliveries of F-16 fighter jets to Ankara -- a move that many believe could be deal clincher.
  • But more Koran burnings in Sweden, for instance, could still prove to be a potential spoiler. Turkey and much of the Muslim world reacted with fury when permission was granted for someone to burn the Muslim holy book outside a Stockholm mosque on June 28 in a protest to coincide with Eid al-Adha, one of the Islamic calendar’s holiest events.
  • The protest was permitted by a Swedish court after similar requests had been turned down, with authorities citing national security risks. At least three permits for the burning of religious books have been lodged in recent days, and the Swedish authorities now face a real headache. Diplomats I’ve spoken to say that Swedish officials will tell their Turkish counterparts that the latest Koran burner at least was charged with agitation against an ethnic or national group, and that they plan similar charges if any similar incidents happen.
  • If there is a deal in Vilnius, it is widely thought that the Turkish parliament could still approve the ratification instrument before it goes into recess by October. Hungary has not ratified Sweden’s accession protocol, either -- mainly in solidarity with Ankara. While there are indications that Hungarian lawmakers postponed the vote to their autumn session, Budapest has repeatedly noted that it won’t be the last country to ratify; so don’t quite rule out Sweden becoming NATO member number 32 already this month.

Brief #3: Sorting Out NATO's Core Tasks

What You Need To Know: Perhaps the single most important decision that will presumably be taken at the NATO summit is the unanimous approval of the military alliance’s first comprehensive defense plans since the end of the Cold War.

These represent NATO’s bread and butter: How to defend every inch of the 31 member states’ territories. Four thousand pages of classified plans should be green-lighted, covering three major regions: the North, meaning the Atlantic and the Arctic regions; the central region that essentially covers Europe from the Baltics to the Alps; and a southern region extending south from the Alps to the Mediterranean and including NATO states around the Black Sea. Of course, there are also subsections focusing on, for example, cybersecurity.

If all goes well and the plans are approved at the summit, even more detailed planning will follow that informs battalions as to exactly what patch of territory or sea they should defend in case of attack.

Drilling Down

  • These plans were essentially supposed to be agreed ahead of the summit, but there have been some obstacles -- mostly involving Turkey. Ankara has, for example, insisted on calling the Bosphorus “the Turkish strait” in the plans and also wanted to put more emphasis on fighting terrorism rather than simply focusing on the threat posed by Russia.
  • But the big issue remains how to go from plans to reality, and that ultimately means: Is there enough military gear, soldiers, and money to achieve all of that? Now, NATO is good at making commitments. In Madrid last year, the allies agreed that they would have 100,000 troops ready to deploy within 10 days and 300,000 inside of a month. But they still haven’t reached that lofty target.
  • It has fared even worse when it comes to defense spending. At the NATO summit in Wales back in 2014, a pledge was made that every ally would spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense by 2024 -- a figure all NATO members managed to reach during the Cold War. One year before that pledge should have been fulfilled, the alliance as a whole isn’t even close to achieving it.
  • Only seven countries -- Estonia, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the United Kingdom, and the United States -- reached the 2 percent threshold in 2022. In 2023, newest NATO member Finland will join the club, as will Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia. Germany should get there next year and France in 2025. But several NATO officials point out that quite a few countries might reach the 2 percent target, only to drop under it again shortly thereafter.
  • Thus, the new pledge in Vilnius. The 2 percent target should be “the floor” rather than the “ceiling.” That’s no problem for countries like Estonia, Poland, and the United States, which all spend 3 percent or more. But for others, it might be just another empty promise.
  • Another issue is that NATO will once again need to return to basics. After 20 years of largely guerrilla fighting in Afghanistan, there is a perceived need for investment in jets, tanks, and artillery -- and this was an acute need even before many NATO allies started sending such military hardware to Ukraine.
  • There is also the production of artillery. Even though European countries are slowly scaling up, largely to provide Kyiv with more rounds, Russia is still firing Europe’s monthly artillery production rate (currently estimated at 20,000-25,000 shells per month) in a single day in Ukraine.

Brief #4: All Of NATO's Other Friends

What You Need To Know: All the spotlight at the summit will doubtless be on Ukraine, but there are other non-NATO countries present in Vilnius, too.

On the first day, July 11, there is an informal North Atlantic Council (NAC) meeting together with “Partners at risk” -- in this case, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, and Moldova -- all of which will be represented by their respective foreign ministers.

On the second and final day, July 12, there will be a NAC meeting with the leaders of the four “Indo-Pacific Partners” -- Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea -- repeating a format first used in Madrid in 2022.

The Indo-Pacific meeting very much reflects the growing worry within the alliance about China; but there are divisions inside the club as to whether NATO is the appropriate forum when it comes to addressing issues pertaining to Beijing.

Drilling Down

  • One clear result of this internal tension is that NATO still hasn’t reached consensus on opening a NATO office in Tokyo, with France no big fan of the idea. At the summit, however, NATO will draw up new cooperation programs with the Indo-Pacific quartet that cover areas like maritime, cyber, and new tech.
  • Combining Bosnia-Herzegovina, Georgia, and Moldova into one session is rather odd. The first two are NATO aspirants that, like Ukraine, have offers of future membership but no concrete timetables. Moldova, on the other hand, is constitutionally neutral and its population is deeply divided on potential membership.
  • For Georgia, it’s also a bit of downgrade. Tbilisi has until recently gone “hand-in-hand” with Ukraine when it comes to NATO membership; not so anymore. NATO officials I’ve spoken to say this “decoupling” simply reflects a reality that the Ukrainian leadership is currently pushing harder for NATO membership.
  • Speeches like the one made by the Georgian Prime Minister Irakli Gharibashvili at the Globsec summit in Bratislava, in which he blamed the war in Ukraine on NATO enlargement, certainly haven’t helped. But what I hear from the NATO corridors in Brussels is that Tbilisi needs to do more to fix Georgia-Ukraine relations and show greater political support for Kyiv. The hope is still that Ukraine can offer a precedent for Georgia going forward on its NATO path.
  • At the summit, the allies will continue to pledge money to boost Georgia’s defense capabilities, notably in the area known as CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological, and nuclear defense) and to refurbish a number of training facilities in the Caucasus country.
  • For Bosnia-Herzegovina, the expectation is of an agreement on a 30 million-euro support package, financing 12 projects in fields such as cybersecurity, air medical evacuation, and boosting its military police.
  • With Moldova, NATO has devised a so-called “enhanced defense-capacity-building package” focused on fighting disinformation, responding to cyberthreats, and modernizing the country’s defense institutions.
  • Interestingly, in light of the recent unrest in northern Kosovo in which NATO KFOR troops were attacked, that country is not formally on the agenda. KFOR’s presence has now been boosted by 500 soldiers, bringing the total number of peacekeepers to 4,300; but no discussions are expected on that issue at the summit unless one of the leaders explicitly brings it up.

That's all for this week. Feel free to reach out to me on any of these issues on Twitter @RikardJozwiak, or on e-mail at

Until next time,

Richard Jozwiak

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About The Newsletter

The Wider Europe newsletter briefs you every Monday on key issues concerning the EU, NATO, and other institutions’ relationships with the Western Balkans and Europe’s Eastern neighborhoods.

For more than a decade as a correspondent in Brussels, Rikard Jozwiak covered all the major events and crises related to the EU’s neighborhood and how various Western institutions reacted to them -- the war in Georgia, the annexation of Crimea, Russia’s support for separatists in eastern Ukraine, the downing of MH17, dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, the EU and NATO enlargement processes in the Western Balkans, as well as visa liberalizations, free-trade deals, and countless summits.

Now out of the “Brussels bubble,” but still looking in -- this time from the heart of Europe, in Prague -- he continues to focus on the countries where Brussels holds huge sway, but also faces serious competition from other players, such as Russia and, increasingly, China.

To subscribe, click here.