Bosnian prime minister Zoran Tegeltija attended the working lunch of leaders of the Western Balkan countries with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the Albanian capital of Tirana, Tuesday, that the EU enlargement process is a two-way commitment, noting that the Balkan countries are of the impression that the Union is only creating an illusion of enlargement while doing the opposite.
He assessed that the crisis caused by the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic reminded everyone of the importance of cooperation, solidarity and efficient coordination.
The Chairman of the Council of Ministers, as the BiH government is called officially, pointed out that the common goal is to shorten the marathon time frame for achieving progress in the process of enlargement and accession to the European Union.
“EU enlargement to the Western Balkans is a two-way process and a new incentive is needed, both in the enlargement process and in the accession process. The general impression is that the EU is creating the illusion of an open enlargement policy while keeping the prospects for accession as far away as possible. A change in such a policy would be an incentive for the implementation of reforms,” Tegeltija said.
He believes that the Western Balkan countries should be given a more significant role and participation in EU processes and closer ties with the EU even before the formal fulfilment of the criteria and conditions for membership.
The BiH prime minister emphasized that the reforms are not being implemented for the sake of membership, but for improving the quality of life of citizens, but that the fatigue from the enlargement process, which is evident, does not bring good to anyone and slows down all processes.
According to him, the Berlin process raised regional cooperation to a higher level and made a significant contribution to speeding up the resolution of some issues and improving the connectivity of the Western Balkans. Tegeltija added that the Berlin process also encourages investment in infrastructure projects and connectivity projects, which is the basic driver for the economic progress of the region.