Bieber: Regional cooperation no substitute for integration

Florian Bieber; Photo by University of Graz

TANJUG_maliSARAJEVO – Cooperation in the region is very important, but it is not a substitute for the EU integration process, Florian Bieber, professor of Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, stated on Wednesday.

Good neighboring relations are a precondition for the EU accession, Bieber said at a conference entitled “Regional Cooperation in South East Europe: Working together towards EU Accession” in Sarajevo, adding that everyone knows that Serbia is an important country in the region as it is involved in many vital bilateral issues.

If Serbia were not interested in regional cooperation, that would be a stumbling block for all, Bieber said, adding that the refugee crisis and terrorist threats to the EU have showed that Europe cannot tackle such issues independently without the involvement of the Western Balkans.