EU leaders were focussing on reforms at their final summit of the year -- like boosting economic competitiveness. But so far they've only agreed on a time frame.
Serbia faces major change before it can join the EU. Significant reforms are not in sight, however, although influential Serbian politicians urge rapid accession.
The tension over Ukraine has all but buried the chance of peace in Syria. The Syrian people, still being massacred every day, are paying the price for the awkward stalemate between the West and Russia.
Caught up in mounting internal conflicts, Turkey is gradually losing interest in its EU accession candidacy. Many Turks feel disillusioned, including the secular, pro-European elite.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has announced an international deal on the conflict in Ukraine, agreed at talks in Geneva. The agreement included a move to "disband illegal armed groups" throughout the country.
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