Michael Roth: New borders in W. Balkans is a dangerous road

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Source: www.michaelroth.eu

Redrawing of borders in the Balkans is a volatile and dangerous issue, Germany's State Minister for European Affairs Michael Roth told Deutsche Welle adding that it is in their interest to tie the Balkans tighter to the EU.

Responding to the question regarding the alleged Slovenian non-paper which suggests the dissolution of Bosnia and the accession of Kosovo to Albania, Roth told Deutsche Welle that redrawing of state borders in the Western Balkans will not solve a single regional problem, on the contrary.

“Such a thing would be extremely volatile and dangerous and would threaten to reopen Pandora's box with a potential conflict. You don’t have to be a prophet to know that. The present and future of the Western Balkans lie in reconciliation, close regional co-operation and a final departure from nationalism and revanchism,” Roth said.

However, he added that living in a democracy also means the freedom to initiate a discussion about anything, but that does not change anything regarding their unequivocal rejection of such ideas.

When asked what it takes to resolve the issues in Kosovo and Bosnia, Roth said he is looking forward to good cooperation with the new government of Kosovo which has presented a very ambitious program in the fight against corruption and strengthening of democracy and the rule of law.

“That’s a strong signal and the Kosovo government can count on our support. In addition, Germany continues to push for Kosovo residents to finally be given the opportunity to liberalize their visa regime. I hope that we in the EU will soon achieve the necessary step. Because, the goal that drifts and further away threatens to become a mirage – and thus to lose the power of attraction and transformation.

As for Bosnia and Herzegovina is concerned, one thing is clear: the vast majority of the population supports the common goal – a future in the EU. But it is equally clear that the country must now resolutely address the reforms, which are so urgent, in order to make faster progress on the road “from Dayton to Brussels”. For example, the reform of the Election Law should be designed in such a way as to contribute to reconciliation and co-operation, rather than further division,” the German Minister concluded.

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