Europe

'EU's enlargement policy guarantees peace, stability, prosperity for Balkans'

Western Balkans accession process is a must, all decisions in EU should be made urgently, says commissioner for enlargement

Talha Ozturk   | 16.05.2022
'EU's enlargement policy guarantees peace, stability, prosperity for Balkans'

BELGRADE, Serbia

The EU's enlargement policy guarantees peace, stability, and prosperity for Western Balkans, the bloc's commissioner for enlargement said on Monday.

Oliver Varhelyi's remarks came during a two-day meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

"The region is a strategic priority for European Union as the European Union is for Western Balkans. EU’s enlargement policy is the only guarantee for peace, stability, and prosperity in the region. Advancing the Western Balkans accession process is a must. All decisions in European Union should be made urgently," said Varhelyi.

Serbian Foreign Minister Nikola Selakovic said after a meeting that his country's EU membership is a priority of foreign policy and strategic commitment, but also that it is important to provide the region with encouragement.

Selakovic and Varhelyi also discussed the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina.

Varhelyi on social media said the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina must continue.

In 2011, the EU initiated a dialogue process to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia, but the process was interrupted by tensions over the last few years.

Kosovo, predominantly inhabited by Albanians, broke away from Serbia in 1999 and declared its independence in 2008. Serbia has not recognized this and continues to lay claim to the territory. Kosovo also aims to achieve full EU membership.

Serbia, Russia, and China are among the countries which have yet to recognize Kosovo's independence.

Top diplomats of the EU gathered in Brussels to discuss the latest developments about the ongoing Russia-Ukraine that started on Feb. 24 and the bloc’s support for Western Balkan countries.

The foreign ministers of the Western Balkans countries -- Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, North Macedonia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina -- joined their EU counterparts for a separate session.

The discussions will focus on how the EU can help its “partners to be more resilient and to deal with the Russian aggression in Ukraine” that heavily affects their economy and security, a senior EU official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told journalists.

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