It is in the EU's strategic interest that the Union expands into Western Balkans, because otherwise Russia and China will gain influence in the region, said German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas in Berlin on Monday.
After meeting with his Albanian counterpart Ditmir Bushati, Maas said that Germany had a very positive stance towards the EU enlargement in the Western Balkans, because it is firmly convinced that would be in a free Europe's strategic interest, Associated Press reported.
"I am convinced that the people of Western Balkans want to live like Europeans, and not like people in China and Russia want to live," Maas said.
He added that Macedonia and Albania have already begun implementing the reforms necessary for EU membership. EU could begin membership talks with Macedonia and Albania in July 2019, provided that the countries fulfill necessary conditions.