European Western Balkans
European Integration

Croatian, German foreign ministers: Clear European prospects for Southeast Europe

Flags of the EU and Croatia; Photo: Croatian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Croatia’s Davor Ivo Stier pushed in Berlin on Wednesday for clear European prospects for Southeast European countries, and announced that the education policy chapter in Serbia’s EU entry talks could be opened very soon.

“As a sign of recognition for Serbia’s achievements, we were for opening all three chapters (yesterday), including the one on education. Croatia is still a little reserved about that and should elaborate this in talks with the European Commission. I hope all three chapters will be opened as soon as possible. That will be necessary to keep the credibility of the enlargement process, notably regarding the Western Balkans”, Steinmeier said, adding that accession processes should be led in such a way that the countries which met their commitments saw that their efforts were worth it.

Stier agreed, saying the education chapter could be opened after additional talks with the European Commission. “I believe it will be opened and closed very soon, maybe at the start of 2017 already”.

Stier said he and Steinmeier also talked about the prospects of other Southeast European countries, notably Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. “We agreed to send a joint task force to Bosnia and Herzegovina next week to help in creating conditions for the continuation of its integration with the European Union.”

Steinmeier and Stier also talked about intensifying economic relations and announced that groups of economic experts would meet in February.

Discussing the situation in Macedonia after recent elections, they voiced hope that it would stabilise soon.

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