EU and the Balkans

News Brief: Jun. 2010

With currently 27 member states, the unification of Europe is still not and will not be complete until the six remaining Western Balkan countries join the Union, stated the Commission of the European Communities in 2003. Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro have filed their candidacy already at the beginning of the new millennium and expect to become full EU members in the maximum span of 10 years.

In the opinion of SPÖ representative Hannes Swoboda, though, negotiations should not be rushed, quoted Der Standard. Completing accession in 2014 would be a success, he emphasized, however, 2018 is the deadline held for more realistic. Croatia and Macedonia are the two states expecting to join first out of the Western Balkans, and the remaining four countries – in 2017.

An obstacle to the complete integration can, nevertheless, be the acknowledgement of Kosovo as an independent state by the Serbian government. A solution is needed to solve the disagreement, added Swoboda. Twenty-two countries of the EU have already recognized Kosovo’s independency but in order for it to join the Union, it would need the approval of all member states, including Serbia.

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