Merkel: Truly united Europe includes Western Balkans

Angela Merkel; Photo: Tanjug / Szilard Koszticsak / MTI via AP

BRUSSELS – Europe will only be truly united when all the countries of the Western Balkans join the EU, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Monday.

The statement by the German chancellor, as reported by POLITICO, represented a strong restatement of Berlin’s commitment to EU enlargement, an idea that is unpopular with some EU governments and many voters in Western Europe.

Merkel was speaking at an event in Hungary to mark the 30th anniversary of the “pan-European picnic” — an event regarded as a key moment in the fall of the Iron Curtain and in bringing Western and Eastern Europe together.

But the chancellor said European unity would not be complete until the entire Western Balkans joins the EU.

“If you look at things geostrategically and also look at the map then there will only be a truly united Europe with the states of the Western Balkans,” Merkel told reporters in the Hungarian town of Sopron, reports Voice of America.