Government ministers from some European Union nations sought Thursday to reassure their partners in the Western Balkans during a meeting in Poland that their aspirations to join the EU have full backing in the club, despite symptoms of a loss of momentum.
German Minister of State for Europe, Michael Roth, said Berlin stands firmly by the accession process of all Western Balkans nations "because for us the Western Balkans is not the backyard of the European Union, but the inner courtyard. We are all responsible for ensuring that the prospect of EU accession remains concrete."
Speaking in the Polish city of Poznan, which is hosting the meeting, Roth urged much more effort in that direction and the opening of accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania.
Foreign, interior and economy ministers from membership candidates Montenegro, Serbia, North Macedonia and Albania, as well as potential candidates Bosnia and Kosovo, are seeking such reassurance after some European leaders raised doubts about the EU's openness to expanding.
Roth said Thursday that "only a concrete perspective that is credible and that motivates the people locally, that involves civil society, will ultimately make the necessary reforms possible" and will pave the accession road.
He said the process will stimulate development in various walks of life in the region, but that above all "it is also about regional cooperation and reconciliation," like in the case of difficult dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo, whose relations are marked by bloodshed.
Source : VOA