Home Venture Capital Scholz calls on EU to keep promises to Western Balkans – EURACTIV.com

Scholz calls on EU to keep promises to Western Balkans – EURACTIV.com

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called on the European Parliament and the European Union to keep their promises to the Western Balkans and accelerate integration, while expressing support for continued dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.

Speaking to the European Parliament on Tuesday, Scholz added that Ukraine and Moldova also have their place in Europe.

“Geopolitical Europe must keep its promises. Promises must be kept to the Balkan countries, which we have been promising to join for 20 years,” he said, adding that “we have told the Western Balkan countries, as well as Ukraine, to Moldova and perhaps Georgia, that they had a place in Europe.

On Kosovo and Serbia, Scholz said efforts to normalize relations must continue, as must integration reforms.

Leaders and negotiating teams from both countries are currently engaged in a thorny EU-backed dialogue process to resolve tensions caused by the 1998-1999 war and Kosovo’s 2008 declaration of independence, which Belgrade rejects to recognize.

Other issues on the table include the rights of the Serbian minority in Kosovo, license plates issued by Belgrade and still used by ethnic Serbs in Kosovo, and Serbia’s continued lobbying of countries and institutions against the inclusion of Kosovo and the recognition of its independence.

“The negotiation process with North Macedonia must also move forward. Enlargement should not be the only reason for reform, but it must be taken into account,” declared the German Chancellor.

North Macedonia has failed to move beyond the EU waiting room, as Bulgaria has conditioned further membership on changing the constitution to include the Bulgarian minority, which cannot be carried out in the Skopje parliament due to the lack of a majority.

Speaking on the occasion of Europe Day, celebrated on May 9, Scholz said that “the more united Europe is, the easier it will face challenges.”

“We should be even more open to others. We need an enlarged and reformed EU, a geostrategic EU. “We have rarely been as united as today in the face of Russian aggression (in Ukraine),” Scholz said.

The German Chancellor also said that the EU was working to improve the sanctions regime against Russia over the invasion of Ukraine.

Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani also addressed EU values ​​on Europe Day. In a message, she highlighted Kosovo’s pro-European commitment and its determination in favor of democracy, peace and the rule of law.

“These fundamental principles have been important pillars of the European Union since its formation, and it is precisely these values ​​that Kosovo and its people have historically fought for and continue to defend today,” she said.

Osmani added: “Let us take this moment to reflect on all the successes we have achieved so far and to reaffirm our unprecedented drive for further successes on the path to European integration. Kosovo and its people have been, are and always will be the embodiment of these values.

Kosovo has applied for EU membership in December 2022, but will face obstacles along the way, namely five EU member states, Cyprus, Spain, Romania, Greece and Slovakia, which do not recognize its independence from Serbia.

(Alice Taylor | Sortie.al)

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