Sofia shouldn’t hold EU enlargement hostage, German Minister of State for Europe Michael Roth wrote in an article for German national daily newspaper Die Welt.
He stressed expectations that the new US administration will support efforts to bring Western Balkans closer to Europe.
“Albania and North Macedonia accomplished a lot on their road to the EU, they implemented ambitious reforms, and did not let anything stand in their way. By resolving the name dispute with Greece, North Macedonia literally made history. Greenlighting start of talks with Albania and North
Macedonia was the best and most necessary step. Now, the EU should hold intergovernmental conferences with both countries as soon as possible, once conditions are met. Germany made strong effort for this to happen during its EU Presidency,” wrote Roth.
He added that the EU must deliver on promises, saying that Bulgaria can’t impose bilateral demands at European level.
“The accession process can’t be postponed forever just because one EU member is holding it hostage in order to satisfy bilateral demands,” Roth wrote.
The German Minister stressed the urgent need for sending a positive signal to the Western Balkans, adding that EU’s credibility is on the line.
“Promoting close relations with the Western Balkans is our most important strategic interest. If we fail, we’ll be replaced by players that don’t share our values. We can’t allow this to happen, especially when we’re competing against authoritarian forces,” he noted.
Roth warned that if EU can’t call itself a global player if it fails to deliver on promises made to the Western Balkans.
Moreover, he stressed expectations that the new US administration will support efforts to bring Western Balkans closer to Europe.
“The new US administration will also expect us to take greater responsibility regarding our neighbors. Joe Biden’s election as US President gives us a chance to work together again to promote freedom, reconciliation and democracy in the Western Balkans,” wrote Roth inan article for Die Welt.