Merkel: Western Balkan States Have Good Prospects to Join EU

Southeast Europe | July 5, 2015, Sunday // 11:09|  views

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a parliamentary session in Berlin, Germany, 01 July 2015. EPA/BGNES

There are good prospects for Albania, Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina to join the European Union, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said.

There is still very much to be done, but there are really good signs of progress, and we are pushing to accelerate the process, Merkel said in her weekly video message on 4 July ahead of her official visit to the western Balkan countries on Wednesday and Thursday.

She said it was only through their prospects for EU membership that the western Balkan neighbours could settle their differences, according to DPA.

The German Chancellor is expected to address the surge in asylum seekers inflow to Germany from the region during her trip.

Asked about her opinion concerning relations between Serbia and Albania, Merkel said that the first visit of Albania’s Prime Minister Edi Rama to Belgrade in decades was a sign of hope.

Rama was the first Albanian leader to pay an official visit to Serbia in 68 years in November 2014.

Aleksandar Vucic followed suit by making the first visit by a Serbian Prime Minister to Albania in May of this year. During his meeting with Rama the two leaders agreed to disagree on Kosovo and sought closer cooperation between their countries.

Merkel also said that Albania and Serbia were working very actively to accomplish the objectives of the Conference of Western Balkan States held in August of last year.

Commenting on Serbia’s prospects of building closer ties with the EU, Merkel said that the opening of the first chapters in the country’s accession talks with the EU hinges to a large extent on progress achieved in relations between Belgrade and Pristina, according to Tanjug.

The latest EU-facilitated dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo failed to reach agreement between the two sides, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced earlier this week.

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Tags: Germany, Merkel, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, kosovo, Vucic, Rama, Western Balkans


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