In Serbia on Monday, in Albania today for one of her last trips abroad before leaving the German Chancellery, Angela Merkel pleaded for the integration of the Balkans into the European Union. EU interest, she said, faced with the growing influence of other powers like Russia and China in the region:
“We Europeans, who are already members of the European Union, should always keep in mind that there is an absolute geostrategic interest for us in actually accepting these countries into the European Union. We can see that it there are setbacks and there is also the influence of many other parts of the world (in the Western Balkans, editor’s note) _._ “
Angela Merkel urged Serbia to do “new steps in the direction of the rule of law, democracy, the plurality of society” and find a negotiated solution with Kosovo.
After Belgrade, Angela Merkel is to meet today, in Tirana, the leaders of six countries of the zone, Albania, Bosnia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia, which are at various stages of the process of rapprochement with Europeans.
Serbia and Montenegro opened accession negotiations years ago. In March 2020, the European Union gave the green light to open negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, but these have not started. Bosnia and Kosovo do not yet have candidate status.
Angela Merkel also pleaded for further progress in building a common economic market in the Balkans, a process initiated by Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia.
Slovenia, which holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, is preparing a summit with the countries of the region for October, with the aim of relaunching enlargement.