18:56 / 06.10.2021.

Author: Domagoj Ferenčić

EU leaders support EU enlargement in Western Balkans

EU flags

EU flags

Foto: Pixabay / Pixabay

EU leaders held a summit with their Western Balkan counterparts in Slovenia today, at which they declared their unequivocal support for the European perspective of the Western Balkans, but once again failed to set a timeline for their entry into the bloc.

On Wednesday European Union leaders offered hope to the leaders of the six Balkan countries that they could someday join the EU, but only if they met the union’s standards. European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen: "We want the Western Balkans in the European Union. There cannot be any doubt that our goal is enlargement."

However, the leaders failed to come up with a concrete decision as to whether or not the EU's enlargement process will be relaunched in the near future. In spite of years of rhetoric about the “European perspective” of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia, progress on their road to membership has stalled.

The bloc's 27 leaders emphasized in their statements that any progress would rely on “credible reforms by partners, fair and rigorous conditionality and the principle of own merits.” They also underlined the need for the EU to “maintain and deepen its own development, ensuring its capacity to integrate new members.”

Also discussed was the EU's stronger engagement in the region's economic recovery and sustainable development: "The economic and investment plan is at the core of our engagement with the region. Indeed with nine billion Euros put on the table in grants, we can leverage up to 30 billion Euros for the region. The economic and investment plan is accompanied by the Berlin Process, and it is crucial for the development and the deeper integration of the common regional market," Von der Leyen said.

Source: HRT

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