Austria calls for rapid integration of the Western Balkans into the EU

Austria calls for rapid integration of the Western Balkans into the EU

The EU should accelerate the integration of the Western Balkans to ensure that other powers cannot exert influence in the EU’s immediate vicinity, Integration Minister Susanne Raab said in Berlin on Thursday (3 November).

Chancellor Olaf Scholz hosted the Berlin Process on Thursday, a format originally launched by Angela Merkel in 2014. It brought together Albania, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, North Macedonia and Montenegro with France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Poland. Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Council President Charles Michel were also present.

“Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine has made us realize that the EU must finally get to work to integrate the six Western Balkan countries”said Ms. Raab on the sidelines of the Berlin summit.

“We cannot afford to allow other powers in our immediate vicinity to influence it”She added.

The Austrian minister, who replaced the foreign minister who was ill with COVID-19, sees European integration as the strongest geopolitical tool available to the EU. “Every country in Europe should have understood that by now at the latest”she pointed out as reported WHAT.

Austria, a country historically and geographically close to the region, has long had a keen interest in its stability. Regarding Sarajevo, Austria has signaled its support for tram lines through the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.

Berlin has pledged 1 million euros to the Green Recovery Program in the Western Balkans, 1 million euros to support climate protection in Kosovo and 5.3 million euros to green investments.

Western Balkans sign historic agreements in Berlin

The heads of state and government of the six Western Balkan countries signed three agreements on Thursday (3 November) as part of the Berlin process. In doing so, they are sending a positive signal in the run-up to the crucial Western Balkans summit, which will take place in Albania in December.

Reference: www.euractiv.fr

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