Roth: Democracy in the Western Balkans is in our interest

Michael Roth; Photo: Tanjug

BERLIN – It is in our interest for the Western Balkans to find the path to democracy and the rule of law as soon as possible, Germany’s Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth told Deutsche Welle (DW).

He opposed the formulation that can often be found in the German media that the Western Balkans is the “backyard” of the European Union, often neglected.

“It is not some kind of EU’s backyard, but our central backyard, and it serves our interests if the Western Balkans find its way to democracy, rule of law and regional reconciliation as soon as possible, and if the young generations gain perspective,” Roth said, adding that Germany will engage further in the region during its six-month presidency of the Council of the EU, which began this month.

“We want to organize a separate conference to discuss the future of the young generation in the Western Balkans. This region will achieve prosperity and stability only if the EU takes on more responsibilities,” Roth said.

Roth pointed out that the EU has to increase visibility.

“We need to be more emotional. It must be clear that we are not some kind of technocratic caravan,” said Roth adding that the EU should solve problems and put topics on the agenda that concern people.

Speaking about the resumption of negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina in Brussels on Thursday, Michael Roth said that “in previous years we had a de facto stalemate.” DW.

“I am happy that new dynamics have emerged, among other things with the Special Representative Lajčak,” Germany’s Minister of State for Europe concluded.