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Guy Verhofstadt for EWB: European integration the best way to stabilize Western Balkans

Guy Verhofstadt at the GMF's Brussels Forum; Photo: Flickr/German Marshall Fund

BRUSSELS – European Western Balkans is following the GMF’s Brussels Forum. We asked Guy Verhofstadt the Leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Group and Member of the European Parliament from Belgium about his position onthe Western Balkans, its European integration process, and the influence of Russia and Turkey in the region. Verhofstadt served as the 47th Prime Minister of Belgium.

Verhofstadt is frequently mentioning the need for unity in the European Union. We asked him where does he see the Western Balkans in this vision of Europe he has.

“I think it is absolutely necessary that we in the European Union re-engage with the accession process of the all countries of the Western Balkans,” he pointed out.

“Let’s be honest, since few years, now after the entrance of Croatia, it has been a period of slowing down of the whole process. I think it is a very bad thing. Because it is absolutely a key, in my opinion, that all the Western Balkans countries are entering the EU, because this is the only and the best way to stabilize the region. It seems that it is the best way to stabilize the region than to put in, as we still do, European soldiers on the ground,” he said.

Leader of ALDE said that he is very much in favour to further promote the entrance of the Western Balkan countries inside the European Union and to do the necessary efforts from the EU’s side, but also from the side of the Western Balkan countries.

“They all have to adopt the reform of institutions towards the standards of the European Union, the so-called criteria of Copenhagen”, he said.

“That is also the best way to secure the European future of the Western Balkans instead of the growing influence from Russia or from Turkey,” Verhofstadt said answering the question how does he see the Russian and Turkish influence in the Western Balkans when it comes to the level of democracy.

Nikola Burazer, Executive Editor

This article has been produced with the support of the Balkan Trust for Democracy. The content of this article and the opinions expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the portal European Western Balkans and in no way reflect the views and opinions of the Balkan Trust for Democracy nor the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

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