Tuesday, 18 September, 2018

Babiš: European Union should give Balkan countries their European Union accession date

Thaci meets Merkel Dialogue is the only alternative in the Balkans Babiš: European Union should give Balkan countries their European Union accession date
Patty Aguilar | 18 May, 2018, 12:41

The summit will not focus on bids by the region's six non-EU countries - Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia, and Albania - to join the bloc, but rather will tackle their efforts toward closer integration with the bloc, European officials said.

French President Emmanuel Macron says his country will not get into a trade war against the United States over Iran, despite France's disapproval of President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal.

European Council President Donald Tusk, who chaired the summit, said that it's important to continue the integration process and reassure the six that their future lies with Europe, not with Russian Federation. Bulgaria's prime minister recently warned Russian Federation and China will otherwise gain toeholds in the region.

The European Union has to further promote its influence in the Western Balkans as otherwise, the regional states would turn to Russian Federation or Turkey, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday.

"The elephant was in the room, so we had to talk about it", Edi Rama, the Albanian prime minister, said after emerging from a lunch with European Union leaders which he described as "very argumentative" and "a fight".

The EU to finance the construction of a 10 billion euro infrastructure in the Balkans was discussed at the Summit in Sofia.

When EU leaders pose for a picture with counterparts from six western Balkan nations hoping to join the bloc, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy will stay away in protest - highlighting how long and hard their road to membership is likely to be.

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The EU agrees with the encouragement of a favorable market and investment environment in the Western Balkans in order to move faster towards a digital economy and climate-friendly societies in line with the Paris Agreement.

But the declaration avoids using the words "adhesion" or "enlargement" - European Union code words for the path to membership of the bloc. But the European Union appears to be demanding unlikely levels of reform from a group of governments whose leaders have cracked down on the media and are linked with corruption scandals.

Earlier in the day, the leaders of the European Union member states adopted a joint declaration pledging to continue to support the Western Balkan countries in their efforts to join the bloc.

"We reaffirmed our mutual commitment to the European perspective for the whole region".

Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, whose country will take over the EU's rotating presidency in July, stressed the importance of keeping the door open.

"If there is no European perspective in the Balkans, the influence of Turkey will increase and that will cause many problems". This is one of the areas in which we want to preserve and develop cooperation with our partners, the British Prime Minister said. Asked about the name of Macedonia, he replied that this was not within his authority.

Kosovo, majority populated by ethnic Albanians, declared independence from Serbia in 2008 and has been recognised as a sovereign state by more than 100 countries in the world.

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