Ten former Foreign Ministers call upon EU to overcome divisions over enlargement

Family Photo at the Sofia Summit; Photo: Bulgarian EU Presidency / Flickr

BRUSSELS – EU should consider Western Balkans accession to EU as a responsible policy rather than a burden, wrote ten former Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the EU and WB countries in an open letter.

Stability, democracy and prosperity of the South East Europe are linked to the consolidation of the European project and the non-decision on North Macedonia and Albania helps consolidating the status quo in Western Balkans and EU inertia in an increasingly messy geopolitical map, wrote the former ministers.

According to them, the opening of accession talks with the two countries, on the basis of their commitments, is imperative and should be agreed upon at the next EU Summit. At the same time, they call upon EU to present new instruments in the upcoming Zagreb Summit that will consolidate the EU accession path of Western Balkan countries.

The letter, published by Euractiv, was authored by Sigmar Gabriel, Former Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany, Nikolaos Kotzias, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Greece, Karin Kneissl, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria, as well as their colleagues from Cyprus, Bulgaria and Croatia, Ioannis Kasoulides, Kristian Vigenin and Vesna Pusić.

They were joined by their former colleagues from Montenegro, North Macedonia and Albania Igor LukšićNikola Poposki and Ditmir Bushati. Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia Goran Svilanović also co-signed the letter.

“We call upon EU to overcome divisions on this point. The accession process will go on for many years during which there will be enough time to reconcile the need for the EU’s further integration with the need for keeping the European perspective for Western Balkan countries alive”, they stressed in the letter.

The promise made at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003, as well as inability to reach compromises and solve bilateral relations in the wake of the decision were also highlighted.