Michel: Three pillars for future Western Balkans-EU relations

Charles Michel; Photo: European Commission

BRUSSELS – “I hope to set the markers for the future relationship between the Western Balkans and the EU. The strategy that we must attempt to develop together is made up of three pillars”, said the President of the European Council Charles Michele at a press conference with the Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama in Tirana, according to a press release by Michel’s Cabinet.

The first pillar is the need for European countries, heads of state and government, to agree on how to approach the enlargement process in the years to come. The second pillar, explained Michel, would be obtaining clarity on the direction to take further EU relations with Albania and North Macedonia, after these countries did not get the date to start EU accession negotiations in October 2019.

“The third point which, in my view, is of central importance is the call I wish to make, around the European Council table, for a real investment and growth pact for the Western Balkans”, said Michel and stressed that economic development is a key condition for improving social conditions and encouraging all forms of transnational cooperation.

The President of the European Commission (EC) Ursula von der Leyen announced in mid-January that the EC would present a new accession methodology “in the following weeks”.