Western Balkan countries are bitter about the obstruction of their accession to the European Union

(Brussels) Several leaders of the Western Balkans candidates for membership expressed their “discontent” on Thursday and denounced the EU’s lack of credibility at the conclusion of a summit with the EU. twenty seven.

Posted at 8:52
Updated at 11:07 am.

Christian Spellman
France media agency

“We got nothing,” Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic recklessly summed up during a joint press conference in Brussels with his Albanian and Macedonian counterparts.

The veto, opposed by Bulgaria, to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia for reasons of historical and cultural disputes angered the Balkan leaders.

Kirill Petkov, who was ousted on Wednesday evening on a motion of censure voted by parliament, declared that “the Bulgarian position has not changed until the Bulgarian parliament takes a decision.”

As a result, Sofia also obstructs negotiations with Albania, whose candidacy is connected with the candidacy of North Macedonia.

Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama denounced the situation and the fact that the other 26 EU members “sit motionless and present a frightening spectacle of powerlessness”.

“It’s all really very disturbing,” protested Edi Rama.

“It is a blow to the credibility of the European Union,” said Macedonian Prime Minister Dimitar Kovasevsky.

The press conference scheduled after the summit with the heads of European institutions and French President Emmanuel Macron, was officially canceled for a matter of time.

They were too smart to cancel it. “It shows that they really feel very bad about what is happening,” commented Eddie Rama, who doubled down on spades directed at EU leaders.

The leaders of the Western Balkans did not hide their bitterness either enthusiastically from their counterparts in Ukraine and Moldova, who want to give them candidate status.

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The decision, which requires the unanimity of the 27 countries, must be announced during the summit organized after their meeting with their counterparts in the Balkans.

“no illusions”

Eddie Rama advised the Ukrainians to “not have illusions” about the status of the candidate, because the membership process would be very long.

“North Macedonia is a candidate for 17 years, if I don’t lose count, and Albania for eight years,” he recalls.

Belgian Prime Minister Alexandre de Croo emphasized that “accession will take a long time.”

North Macedonia has been a candidate since 2005, Montenegro since 2010, Serbia since 2012 and Albania since 2014. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, which are not recognized by five EU members, are not yet “potential candidates”.

The obstacles to starting negotiations are serious. Disagreements between Serbia and Kosovo are hampering Belgrade’s aspirations. Aleksandar Vucic was categorical: there was no doubt about the recognition of Kosovo.

Kosovo President Fjoza Osmani Sadriu has warned the EU of any remaining space for “other actors” to influence because “it is clear that they will take advantage of it”.

Russia, China, Turkey, and the Gulf states are gaining influence in a region that has been disappointed by EU procrastination.

Options under consideration for “revitalizing” the process include visa liberalization for Kosovo, segregation of Albania and North Macedonia candidacies, and granting candidate status to Bosnia and Herzegovina on the same terms as Ukraine and Moldova. But they do not reach a consensus among the 27, according to a diplomatic source.

A representative of one of the member states noted that “the choice to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova is a very strong political gesture, but the conditions for starting negotiations require unanimity and the decision requires unanimity.”

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On Thursday, European leaders are due to discuss a proposal to create a “European Political Community” launched by French President Emmanuel Macron and backed by Charles Michel to help prepare candidates for integration. Nine will be with Ukraine and Moldova, because Turkey has also been waiting for its turn for 23 years.

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