Croatian Foreign Minister: EU needs to start membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania

Croatian Foreign Minister: EU needs to start membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania

The EU has to step up its engagement in the Western Balkan region, which needs to work on its democratic transformation, human rights and the rule of law — while the EU needs to keep its promises, said Croatia’s Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

“That means opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, visa liberalization for Kosovo, Montenegro needs to remain dedicated to its European path, and Serbia has to focus on reforms and overcome the legacy of war,” said Grlić Radman.

“We have to get involved and invest in the stability and security of the Western Balkans because that way we invest in the stability and security of Europe,” he concluded.

The EU External Action Service has prepared a non-paper for today’s meeting regarding enhanced EU engagement in the Western Balkans.

The working document notes that countries in the Western Balkans have a clear objective to become members of the EU and that they do not want alternative arrangements such as enhanced economic, trade or financial cooperation.

The document says that this year offers good prospects for those countries to make concrete and significant progress on their path towards the EU.

The countries are asked to work on strengthening good neighborly relations and to invest effort to find final and inclusive solutions to bilateral disputes and the legacy of the past and to implement them.

It also says that the new US administration is prepared for joint action with the EU in the Western Balkans.

The document underlines that it is essential that Bosnia and Herzegovina make progress in fulfilling 14 key priorities defined by the European Commission.

Serbia and Montenegro are required to step up reforms, particularly regarding the rule of law and governance and to consolidate their geopolitical orientation.

Serbia and Kosovo are expected to strengthen their efforts in achieving a comprehensive binding agreement on the normalization of relations.