Croatian PM: EU membership only right way for Western Balkans

NEWS 06.10.2021 13:16
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Andrej Plenković
Source: Andrej Plenković (N1)

Croatia is one of the advocates of European Union enlargement and that is the "only right path" for Western Balkan countries, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said on Wednesday at an informal EU-Western Balkans Summit.

Croatia is one of those countries advocating EU enlargement, Plenkovic said and added that it is the “only right path” for Southeast Europe.

EU leaders met in Brdo pri Kranju in Slovenia to send a message of their “commitment to the enlargement process,” said Plenkovic.

Albania, North Macedonia, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Montenegro wish to join the bloc but they do not enjoy the same level of support from all EU members and they do not have the same road map on accession to the EU.

Plenkovic called for opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania as soon as possible “because they deserve it,” he underscored and added that Croatia considers Bosnia and Herzegovina as “particularly essential”, where Croats are one of the three constituent peoples there.

“Today we will advocate their equality and respect for the letter and spirit of the Dayton-Paris accords. That means, we expect political parties in BiH and institutions to appropriately amend the election law ahead of the next election,” which will occur in October 2022, said Plenkovic.

Plenkovic is expected to meet briefly with Serbia's President Aleksandar Vucic, and one of the topics on the agenda is the Serbian textbooks’ negation of the existence of the Croatian language, as well as the search for those missing from the 1990s war.

Plenkovic added that Croatia “urgently requires information from the Serbian side so we can continue the search for the missing.”

On Tuesday, Plenkovic met with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti who sent a message to the Union this morning saying that the “Western Balkans is something that is missing for Europe to be Europe in the true sense.”

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, had said ahead of her recent Western Balkans tour, that the Western Balkan countries “belong in the European Union.”

We want them in the European Union, she underscored and added that there is still a lot of work in the rule of law, judiciary and media freedom.

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