German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for Brussels to grant EU membership to the Balkan countries. This position was expressed by the head of the German government on September 13, at a joint press conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic in Belgrade, Deutsche Welle reports.
“The absolute geostrategic interest for Europe is for these countries to join the EU,” Merkel said.
However, she said Serbia and other countries in the region must make more efforts to carry out democratic reforms in order to gain EU membership.
On September 14, the Albanian capital, Tirana, will host a meeting between the German Chancellor and the heads of government of all six Western Balkan countries - Serbia, Albania, the Republic of Northern Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Kosovo, aspiring to join the EU.
Brussels has been negotiating EU membership with Serbia and Montenegro for many years. Albania and Northern Macedonia are officially considered candidates for accession, and Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Kosovo are considered potential candidates.
Since 2014, Brussels has been pursuing a course to strengthen regional cooperation with the Balkan countries in the framework of the Berlin Process, initiated by Angela Merkel.
As it was reported earlier, in October 2019, at a meeting of the European Council, French President Emmanuel Macron voted against the start of negotiations with Northern Macedonia on accession to the European Union. The Prime Ministers of Denmark and the Netherlands voted against negotiations with Albania. Skopje applied to join the EU back in 2004, and Tirana in 2009. In the summer of 2019, Northern Macedonia fulfilled one of the conditions for the start of EU accession talks: it settled the existing dispute with Greece over the country's name.