Western Balkan leaders meet in Albania, discuss EU membership push


  • Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama on Monday met with Serbian, Montenegrin, and Macedonian counterparts to discuss their countries’ European Union membership bids.
  • The Western Balkans have long made appeals for admission into the multinational body, but have been denied over a variety of unmet socioeconomic conditions.
  • Croatia, which takes up most of the Balkan Peninsula’s Adriatic coast, joined the EU in 2013. Progress by other regional governments has stalled since then.

Leaders of the six Western Balkan countries met informally Monday in the Albanian capital, Tirana, to prepare for a summit on progress toward European Union integration, known as the Berlin Process.

At an informal lunch, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama welcomed his counterparts from Montenegro, Serbia and North Macedonia, together with EU Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi.

On Oct. 16, Albania will host the summit on the Berlin Process, an initiative from Germany and France to encourage the Balkan countries in their path toward membership into the European Union.

SERBIAN AND MONTENEGRIN PRESIDENTS SEEK TO MEND STRAINED RELATIONS IN HISTORIC BALKAN ALLIANCE

The six Western Balkan countries — Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Albania — are at different stages of integration into the bloc.

Rama said he expected “the summit to have a meaningful outcome for the Western Balkans and serve as a further step” in facilitating the interactions between the countries of the region with the EU.

“In parallel with the negotiation process, (we) expect extra financial and economic support for the Western Balkan countries,” he said.

Europe Fox News graphic

The leaders of six countries on the western half of the Balkan Peninsula met Monday in Tirana, Albania, to discuss their bids for European Union membership. (Fox News)

They also discussed with the commissioner “how to open paths to integration (for the regional countries) into the European single market without expecting membership of the EU.”

Serbia and Montenegro were the first Western Balkan countries to launch membership negations few years ago, followed by Albania and Macedonia last year, while Bosnia and Kosovo have only begun the first step of the integration process.

“What is important at this moment is to consider the region as one, because that is the way the EU sees us, despite the fact that some countries are ahead and some behind,” said Rama.

HISTORIC RUSSIAN ALLY SNUBS PUTIN IN GROWING SHIFT TO EUROPEAN UNION

The war in Ukraine has put integration of the Western Balkans on the bloc’s top agenda which is trying to reinvigorate the whole enlargement process.

In 2013, Croatia, also a Balkan country, became the newest EU member state. Since then, progress has stalled.

The EU has not deemed the Western Balkan countries’ economies and political institutions ready for integration into the EU’s single market of borderless trade and Western democratic ideals.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

A bitter dispute between Serbia and Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008, remains a great concern for the Western powers ahead of the summit.



Source link

Leave a Comment