Mogherini: Slowing down the enlargement process could create problems in the Western Balkans

Federica Mogherini; Photo: European Union 2017

LUXEMBOURG – High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini urged the EU member states to reach a decision on starting accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania as soon as possible, pointing out on the potential problems that could arise by slowing down the enlargement process of the Western Balkans.

“If the accession negotiations do not open, this would have a significant impact on the country’s motivation, but also in general on the cooperation in the region, as well as on the credibility of the entire process,” Mogherini warned.

Mogherini called on European ministers to make a “wise decision” and open the accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania without delay.

She assessed that it is in the EU’s interest to begin negotiations so that enlargement policy could retain its credibility and influence in the Western Balkans.

“If this process is delayed or weakened, it would be a threat to peace, stability, the security of the borders and the future of young people,” Mogherini said.

The EU’s chief of diplomacy says enlargement is an important strategic issue for the entire EU, and that time is an important category in politics both for the EU and for the Western Balkans.

Mogherini: Prespa Agreement positive for the Western Balkans

“We will need to remind ourselves the power of leadership and courage and important steps that have been taken in the Western Balkans,” Mogherini said ahead of Monday’s Foreign Affairs Council, one year after the signing of the Prespa Agreement between Athens and Skopje.

“And I hope that member states will remember this and acknowledge the progress achieved, especially in the coming days with an important decision to be taken on opening the accession negotiations both for Albania and North Macedonia,” she said.

“I hope and I believe this will be done as soon as possible,” Mogherini said.