Tuesday, 25 January 2022 | News today: 0

Poposki calls for a clear timeframe for EU integration of the Balkans

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At the Central European Initiative Summit of Foreign Ministers, that takes place in Ohrid, Macedonian Foreign Affairs Minister Nikola Poposki met with his colleagues from Austria and Italy, Sebastian Kurz and Paolo Gentiloni, and the Foreign Ministers of the Balkan countries, at a morning meeting during which he asked for a clear time­frame for European integration of the Balkans.

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“Without a clear timeframe, we reduce the credibility of the certain European perspective for the Balkans which was promoted in the Berlin process and which we expect to see re-­affirmed at the Vienna Balkan conference this August. I emphasised the importance of the timeframe because were given a message from the European Commission that no country from our region can expect to join the European Union in the near term. But, we need to have a horizon, a period of time in which we can expect to see the countries join the EU, which will increase the feasibility of this agenda”, Minister Poposki said following the meeting.

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The Berlin agenda, coming from the meeting of Balkan leaders in Berlin a year ago, included a push for the regional countries to begin solving mutual bilateral issues, while working together for EU supported infrastructure programs that would bring the region physically closer and more integrated. “We are preparing for the conference in Vienna where we will discuss several regional infrastructure projects that are identified as top priority and will receive part of the dedicated EU funding. These include energy, road and railroad projects”, Poposki added.

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The meeting also covered the recent wave of refugees that is covering the Balkans, including Macedonia, as people flee wars in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen and the African countries, enter Greece and Bulgaria through Turkey and look for a way further north. Minister Poposki said that there is a need that the comprehensive European migration strategy also covers the non-­EU Balkan member countries.