The authors of a study on European Union expansion said that the Union has to integrate the countries of the Western Balkans quickly to complete itself.
The EU also has to maintain control over the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue because relations between Serbia and Kosovo affect relations in the entire region, the online presentation of the study organized by the German Foreign Relations Council (DGAP) was told.
One of the authors of the study, Mateo Bonomi from the International Relations Institute in Rome told the online gathering that the EU should get out of what he called the compromised stage of providing a European perspective to the countries of the region and speed up their integration process.
He said that the countries of the Western Balkans are economically integrated into the EU to a great extent but added that the stronger economic ties have not resulted in economic modernization. He warned that the economic gap between the Western Balkan countries and EU member states had increased over the past 10 years.
The presentation was told that the coronavirus pandemic demands a common EU-Western Balkans agenda which means including the region in the Union’s recovery plan. National responses to the pandemic have shown that the challenges facing the EU and Western Balkans overlap in terms of European democratic values and that those values should be in the heart of the European integration process.