European Western Balkans
European Integration

New Thessaloniki Agenda

Towards membership of Western Balkan courtiers

From the beginning of 1990s Greece was one of the strong advocates of integration of the countries of Balkans into the European Union. On one side, from the beginning of its membership in EC/EU Greece was the only country which didn’t have any land border with any other EC/EU member. And on the other, Hellenic investments in that region are huge, especially in Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia and Serbia.

After the final ending of all Balkan insurgencies in 2003, on the first next summit of EU in that year in Thessaloniki, under the Hellenic Presidency, the European Council endorsement ‘The Thessaloniki agenda for the Western Balkans: Moving towards European Integration’. This agenda represents a new important step in the privileged relationship between the EU and the Western Balkans countries.

For the first time the EU reiterates its unequivocal support to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries – Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Serbia and Montenegro[1]. The future of the western Balkans was guaranteed within the European Union. But at 10 years after, only Croatia become member of the EU.

After 11 years EU-Western Balkans Ministerial Conference was hosted by Hellenic Presidency of the Council on May 8, in Thessaloniki. Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Štefan Füle, Ministers for Foreign and EU Affairs from Member States and the Western Balkans, as well as senior officials from the EEAS and the European Commission participated at the Conference are present.

On this conference ministers recognized the need for further efforts, especially in the fields of rule of law, protection of fundamental rights, regional cooperation and good neighborly relations and the economy, notably in consolidating macroeconomic stability and enhancing growth and jobs. New Thessaloniki Agenda 2014 is needed to provide secure future for Western Balkan countries.

Again European Union inspires and encourages the countries of the Western Balkans to follow the same successful path Croatia, Bulgaria and Romania followed before. Ongoing preparation for integration into European structures and ultimate membership into the European Union, through adoption of European standards, is now the big challenge ahead in front of governments of candidates and positional candidates from Western Balkans.

Lot of challenges are in front of this countries. Who is the next member?

Author: Nemanja Todorović Štiplija 
[1] State Union of Serbia and Montenegro together with Kosovo under UNMIK

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