German, French envoys to Serbia: Western Balkans EU accession ‘isn’t under quest

NEWS 03.02.2020 16:56
Source: Tanjug/Dragan Kujundžić

Thomas Schieb and Jean-Louis Falconi, the German and French ambassadors to Serbia respectively said on Monday that the accession process of the Western Balkans’ countries ‘isn’t under question’, but the time could not be predicted, and added that the improvement of the mechanisms and the European Union internal reforms should happen first, the Beta news agency reported.

Schieb said that the pace of Serbia’s accession mostly depended on the judiciary reforms, regional cooperation and the situation with the media.

At the opening of the “What’s Next With Western Balkans,” Schieb said that for Germany, the enlargement was an important goal, but that it was a huge issue on the EU agenda as well.

“We still believe that North Macedonia and Albania deserve to open the accession negotiations, but that’s the beginning of a long-lasting and difficult process. We think that such a positive decision of the European Council should soon be brought,” Schieb said.

He added that though Germany and France had different views about that issue, they agreed on the most important topic – the fulfilment of all conditions for joining the EU and the respect of the rule of law. His French colleague Falconi said that French President Emmanuel Macron non-paper was not the delay of the Western Balkans countries’ accession process, but the way for the EU to remain relevant.

He added that Serbia’s public protested over the non-paper which left room for the influence of other players.

“I hear a lot about the Russian, Turkish and Chinese influence, but, interestingly, we offer the best, i.e., the admittance, and they criticise us. They say the EU is not present and that others fill that vacuum. They are so popular, but no one had suggested anything like the enlargement,” Falconi said.