A member of the European Union Delegation to Serbia, Nicola Bertolini, said on Thursday that political leaders in the Western Balkans did not have a complete vision of the region's integration into the Union and needed to be braver.
Addressing the conference, organised by the universities of Perugia, Belgrade and Zagreb, within the Jean Monnet Project ( EU’ Erasmus Plus), Bertolini underlined the enormous difference in the funds intended for the bloc’s member states and candidates for membership.
„When Serbia is in the EU, I hope it will be in five years, but don’t take my word for it, it will receive ten times more funds (from the EU) than today,“ Bertolini said.
„The EU is by far the biggest donor to Serbia with more than €3.6 billion (3.688) in grants provided over the past 18 years,“ according to the EU in Serbia website.
Bertolini added that "we see differences between the countries of the region. In Serbia, about 50 percent of citizens are for the EU, making it unclear where would they like to go.
Other regional countries are much more supportive of the EU membership."
The conference's panels will discuss the deterioration of the EU's image in the Western Balkans and why EU enlargement in Southeast Europe has reached a stalemate. The topics will include the role of civic initiatives in democratising society, security and EU integration challenges, and the US engagement in the region.