At a summit in Berlin on Thursday, six countries in the Western Balkans signed several agreements on the mutual recognition of their identity documents, university degrees and professional qualifications. It’s a new attempt to improve their relationships, but the problems are far from resolved. Now the EU is urging leaders to look for solutions…especially for Serbia and Kosovo.
“Russia’s brutal war of aggression against Ukraine compels us to remain united to preserve Europe’s freedom and security. It is time to overcome regional conflicts that have been going on for too long, conflicts that divide you and hold your countries back on the European path. In particular, the normalization process between Serbia and Kosovo needs to be accelerated, so let’s do it,” said Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
But Serbia insists that neither Kosovo nor the European Union will respect the agreements already signed to guarantee the rights of the Serb community.
“We signed the Brussels agreement, which has not been implemented for 10 years, you in the EU are its guarantors, apply it and then we will talk further,” said Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabić.
The six Balkan countries that took part in the conference (Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Albania) share their aspirations to join the EU, although their integration processes are progressing at different speeds.
The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, recalled that there is no timetable for a new enlargement, but repeated the impetus given by the war in Ukraine. “At this moment, I have to say that we have the feeling that a wind of change is blowing through Europe. Due to the geopolitical situation, it is of the utmost importance to advance the accession process of the Western Balkans and here we share the same attitude. We want our friends to be in the European Union,” von der Leyen put it in detail.
An EU-Western Balkans summit will take place on 6 December in Tirana, Albania. It is the first time that this meeting takes place in the region and in a country that is not a full member of the EU.