European Parliament Head Advocates EU Accession For Balkan Countries
European Parliament President David Sassoli has spoken out in favour of Western Balkan countries joining the European Union. Such EU enlargement could be a « positive project for peace and prosperity, » the Italian politician was quoted by media concern Funke Mediengruppe on Sunday, 6 June.
According to Sassoli, the inclusion of Western Balkan states in the EU « could be extremely beneficial for the region itself, and for Europe as a whole, as it would contribute to stability, prosperity and peace on the continent. »
How quickly the plan can be implemented depends on how well the necessary criteria for EU membership are met in each of these countries, where « reforms still need to be completed, » the President of the European Parliament stressed.
The Western Balkans include Serbia and Montenegro, with which Brussels is already conducting accession talks, as well as Albania and Northern Macedonia, which are officially considered candidates for EU membership. The region also includes Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, which are seen as potential candidates.
However, not all EU countries agree to such an enlargement. In 2019, France, the Netherlands and Denmark blocked the EU’s decision to start accession talks with Northern Macedonia and Albania, citing a lack of progress on reforms in those countries.
At the end of 2020, the Czech Republic and Slovakia blocked signing of an important document at European level promoting the integration of the Western Balkan countries. Bulgaria, for its part, strongly opposes negotiations with North Macedonia.