The leaders of the European Union (EU) will try on Wednesday to respond to the frustration of the Western Balkans which, after years seeing the doors of the European bloc closed, are tempted by Russia and China.
During an informal summit organized in Slovenia, the 27 Member States will recall that the EU bloc remains the first provider of funds for this strategic region.
With an economic support estimated at 1,000 million euros (about 1,160 million dollars), “it is time to reaffirm ourselves, to make it understood that we continue to be the main investor and the closest commercial partner”, estimates a European official.
For this region nestled between EU countries, membership is “the ultimate achievement”, according to the Austrian think tank OIIP.
But on the winding path of European integration, the leaders of Albania, Bosnia, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia or Kosovo do not see the goal in the near future.
– Frustrated wedding –
It is actively supported by Slovenia, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.
The obstacles, however, are significant: some fear a migration flow from these poorer countries and others criticize overly timid reforms on issues such as democratic standards.
France, Denmark and the Netherlands froze accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia in 2019.
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