Twenty years after the wars in the Western Balkans, the region is in peace and all the countries are aspiring to membership in the European Union. However, one should not take for granted the significant progress that has been made.
The stability of the region still rests on shaky ground and largely depends on the support of the European Union. The prospect of EU membership has until now been the most powerful incentive to implement difficult but necessary reforms, and for continued efforts to reconciliation in the region, say in a joint text foreign ministers of Germany and Austria, Frank Walter Steinmeier and Sebastian Kurz.
“Our commitment to the European perspective of the Western Balkans remains of vital importance to ensuring lasting stability in the region and completing the transformation of political, economic and social systems in the region. Peace, stability and democracy in the Western Balkans are in the strategic interest of the European Union. Berlin process, started by Germany in 2014 and which this year continues Austria, provides new momentum and confirms our commitment to the subject perspective, ” says the text, published on the occasion of the upcoming conference on the Western Balkans in Vienna.
The Vienna Summit, which will take place tomorrow, is the second in a series of five summits planned by 2018. Like the first summit in Berlin, Vienna Summit will also bring together prime ministers, foreign ministers and economy ministers of all the countries of the Western Balkans, as well as all relevant stakeholders from the European Union and international institutions.
Its aim is threefold: 1. to emphasize the significant progress achieved in the region; 2. to confirm and strengthen the European perspective of all countries in the region, and 3. to speed up reforms to improve the possibilities of economic development and encourage regional cooperation.
“Last year in Berlin, we agreed to focus on concrete projects, for the simple reason that the inhabitants of the Western Balkans expect tangible benefits from the road to the European Union in the following areas: interconnection, employment, education, human rights, rule of law and democracy. The leaders of the region have reached a consensus regarding core regional transport network and the associated corridors, which is the backbone of economic development. The European Commission is ready to dedicate one billion Euros before 2020 to support this project. This will help the countries of the Western Balkans to become more connected both to each other and the EU. We also want to help create new economic opportunities for young people of the Western Balkans, ” say the two ministers.
Izvor: RTV Montenegro