The political leaders of Serbia, Albania and North Macedonia warned that their populations are disappointed by the repeated obstruction of their wish to join the European Union.
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama and North Macedonia Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said in an op-ed piece for the Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung that the citizens of the Western Balkans have seen their desire to be accepted by the EU stopped by failure to meet promises and a fear of the future. “That led to disappointment, instability, emigration and a lack of great investments. As political leaders of these countries we can either complain or do something about it. We have decided on the latter,” they said.
They said that their vision is to implement the four European liberties at home and overcome social, economic and trade barriers slowing down the economic growth of the region, recalling their Open Balkan initiative which proved effective in dealing with the situation in the pandemic. They called all other Western Balkan countries to join the initiative.
“As responsible politicians we can’t allow the region to return to the nightmares of the past at a time when the EU is incapable of doing more on its expansion…The Open Balkan initiative is not a consolation prize to replace EU membership but a big step towards membership,” they said, adding that the entire EU should support the initiative.