Polish FM calls on EC to speed up integration process with Western Balkans

In a letter issued to the European Commission’s head Jean-Claude Juncker, foreign ministers of Poland, Italy, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Slovenia called for working up specific proposals which would strengthen the EU integration process in the Western Balkans.

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The ministers pointed out that the process of integrating the Western Balkans with the EU proceeded too slowly and unequally.

“That’s why we are ready for the constructive involvement of the union to improve that procedure,” they wrote, adding that the specified proposals should be presented no later than February 2020.

It was stated in the letter that should the proposals be worked up meeting the aforementioned deadline, it will be possible to start the EU access negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia even in March next year.

The FMs also pointed out that only by further integration with the Western Balkans, can necessary reforms aimed at increasing security and stability in the region be implemented.

In October, despite a few hour-long talks at the EU summit in Brussels, member states’ leaders failed to convince French President Emmanuel Macron to give his consent for opening accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia.

According to unofficial information, France was the only EU member state that was against the opening of the EU access negotiations with the two Balkan countries. Denmark and the Netherlands were against the talks with Albania, however, they remained open to negotiations with North Macedonia.

During the Brussels summit in June 2018, EU leaders agreed to open membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania by the end of 2019. Serbia and Montenegro were said to be the second tier, with talks opening as early as 2025.