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West Balkan EU bid questioned

Block’s once successful expansion policy is facing a deadlock when EU leaders meet on Wednesday for a summit on how to stay involved with their West Balkan neighbors, AP reported. EU member states are expected to reaffirm their commitment to the expansion process during the Ljubljana conference, but EU member states have not yet provided a clear deadline, according to the draft authorities have seen. Hmm.

The European Commission has repeatedly promised that the future of the six countries in the region will be within the blocks of 27 countries. However, amid divisions between member states and some bilateral issues, progress has stagnated in the approval of Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

Nationalists are becoming more populist and less united in Hungary and Poland. The arrival of far more than one million migrants in 2015 revealed major differences in how they were managed, creating a major unresolved political crisis.

EU enlargement is also routinely avoided by crises such as the Greek financial crisis and the withdrawal of Britain, and Brock is very focused on his survival rather than accepting new members. The planned departure of German Chancellor Angela Merkel for many years and the French presidential election next year have added to the burden of decision-making and robbed the EU of clear leadership.

Amid heightened tensions on the Kosovo-Serbian border, deadlocks are causing frustration among candidates and questioning Block’s commitment.

Six are at different stages of the EU member state path. Montenegro and Serbia are the most advanced and started formal accession negotiations a few years ago. Albania and North Macedonia are waiting for a formal start of negotiations, while Kosovo and Bosnia are potential candidates.

The latest wrinkles are focused on Albania and North Macedonia after EU leaders did not agree to further negotiations with Serbia in June. While these countries meet the criteria for initiating immigration negotiations, EU member Bulgaria opposes the inclusion of North Macedonia due to controversy over language and national identity. / Europost

The veto has hampered Albania’s progress, as the bids in Albania and North Macedonia are related and require unanimous approval from all EU countries to initiate accession negotiations.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama said, “It actually held us hostage as we waited to perform all our missions and sit around the table to begin negotiations with the European Union. There are. “

Albania and North Macedonia were hoping to receive a green light two years ago to begin negotiations to join a wealthy European club, but opposition from France and the Netherlands ruined their hopes at the time. became.

The EU has always stated that membership is based on the progress of candidates in areas such as the rule of law, respect for democratic standards and the implementation of socio-economic reforms. However, in the case of Albania and North Macedonia, the benefits recognized by the Commission will not be rewarded.

“It is not the spirit of this commitment to thwart this process,” said North Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev. “We have taken all necessary steps and made all necessary reforms. We have taken additional acceptable steps to unleash the EU enlargement and hope that Bulgaria will unleash this process. “

However, the Sofian government, which wants North Macedonia to formally acknowledge that the language has Bulgarian roots, has shown no sign that it is ready to lift the veto. And other EU countries have shown no strong desire to speed up the process.

Among the major EU players, Merkel has only used her influence to support Slovenia. Slovenia is now the replacement presidency of the EU Council, making expansion a priority for its term.

Albania and North Macedonia bids now seem to be more popular outside the block. U.S. officials have warned that western enemies, such as China and Russia, will continue to gain influence in the region if the conflict remains unresolved.

In an interview with Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty, US Deputy Secretary of State Gabriel Escobar, who oversees the West Balkans, urged the EU to begin negotiations with the two countries this year.

Serbia, the largest country in the Western Balkans, has close ties with China and its Slavic ally Russia, despite being warned by the West of their influence in the region. Some Westerners fear that Russia, which has armed Serbia, could destabilize the still volatile regions by authoritarian Serbian leader Alexander Vucci.

In Serbia, public interest in membership is declining and its leaders frequently send various signals about the EU’s true commitment.

“I’ve heard about the promise of accession from the EU for years, and even decades,” said Serbian Speaker Ivica Dačić. “The question is which generation will see those promises fulfilled. Why don’t they just tell us that they don’t want the EU enlargement anymore, and we do that? Is accepted as a reality. “

Since the collapse of the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, the prospect of accession has been a powerful driving force for the reform of the Balkan Peninsula. With the addition of Croatia and Slovenia, the EU has not expanded since 2013.

The immigration crisis is often cited by experts as one of the main reasons for paralysis. There is concern that expansion may create another influx of people seeking a better life.

The prolonged tension between Serbia and Kosovo also does not help. Five EU member states, Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain, do not recognize Kosovo as a country.

“It is crucial that Kosovo and Serbia normalize their relationship,” said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. “The EU-promoted dialogue is the only platform to solve the current crisis.”

The EU is not in a position to provide a clear outlook for Balkan candidates, but at least it can provide financial support. Brock said it will provide the region with around € 30 billion over the next seven years to boost the economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and accelerate improvements in the environmental and digital sectors.

Copyright (c) Novinite.com. Published with permission via Big News Network news agency

West Balkan EU bid questioned

SourceWest Balkan EU bid questioned

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