German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is speeding up the pace in the discussion on the rapprochement of the countries of the Western Balkans with the European Union. She believes that no more time should be wasted, reports DW.
Baerbock has once again called for rapid progress regarding the accession of the Western Balkan countries to the EU.
“No more time should be wasted on integration and rapprochement. The six countries of the Western Balkans not only geographically belong to the heart of Europe, but also politically,” said Baerbock after a conversation with the new Slovenian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Tanja Fajon, whom she met in Berlin.
Greater Russian influence in the Western Balkans must not be allowed
“There must not be a niche in the Balkans where Russia or other actors could gain a foothold,” said Annalena Baerbock. Apart from Moscow, China is also trying to gain greater influence in the Western Balkans. Tanja Fajon, for her part, emphasized the support of Slovenia, which is a member of the EU, to the accession perspectives of the six Balkan countries.
Serbia, Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina are in various stages of approaching the European Union. Negotiations have already started with Serbia and Montenegro. North Macedonia and Albania have candidate status, but Bulgaria is blocking the start of negotiations. Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina do not yet have candidate status.
Bosnia and Herzegovina is the most difficult case
As for Bosnia and Herzegovina, the German Minister of Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock, says that the decision on the status of the candidate is not made due to the internal political situation, where Republika Srpska’s course of secession from the country as a whole is intensifying.
The European Union recently discussed the progress of the countries of the Western Balkans privately in Brussels.
The meeting ended without any concrete results. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz nevertheless supported the countries of the region in EU integration: “Germany will support the activities of the Western Balkan countries on their way to the European Union,” he said in Brussels.
“We feel responsible for these countries succeeding in with their efforts. The countries of the region must finally get the feeling that their reform efforts are being rewarded,” Scholz said.