The Slovenia Times

Pahor welcomes revival of Berlin Process, says enlargement should continue


Berlin, 3 November - Attending the Berlin Process summit on Thursday, President Borut Pahor thanked German Chancellor Olaf Scholz for reviving this initiative. However, he pointed out that the Berlin Process was not a substitute for the enlargement process of the EU, but contributed to it and encouraged it, Pahor's office said.

Pahor expressed his satisfaction that a consensus has been reached on the geopolitical importance of the EU's enlargement to the Western Balkans. In this context, he stressed the importance of building resilience and achieving reconciliation.

In his address he moreover stressed the importance of regional cooperation and cooperation between countries themselves.

Both the Berlin Process and the Open Balkan initiative are important. They need to be filled with substance and progress needs to be made wherever possible. With European integration, Open Balkan, which is not to everyone's liking, will fade away of its own accord, while integration will be achieved and cooperation will be established, he added.

Pahor welcomed the European Commission's recommendation to grant Bosnia-Herzegovina membership candidate status before the end of this year. Together with visa liberalisation for Kosovo, this will be an important milestone for the revival of the European perspective, he assessed.

The war in Ukraine is creating a new divide in Europe, he said, finding it very important where this divide will take place in the Western Balkans. "If it happens that Serbia remains on the Russian side of this divide, this would mean a constant instability in the region. But if we manage to get Serbia entirely on the European side, the region could become a stability and peace factor," Pahor said.

He also thanked European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen for her understanding and described her recent tour of the region as very important.

Pahor moreover praised the drafting of the agreements being adopted by the Berlin Process and pointed out that energy security had also been among the points highlighted at the most recent summit of the Brdo-Brijuni Process regional initiative, which he hosted in Slovenia in September.

"The EU is prepared to share its energy security with the Western Balkans. If the EU proves its capability in this area, this would strengthen its authority in the region."

The Berlin Process was born out of the Brdo-Brijuni initiative. In July 2014, former German Chancellor Angela Merkel was a special guest at a meeting hosted by Pahor and then Croatian President Ivo Josipović in Dubrovnik.

After the meeting, Merkel said it would make sense to establish this meeting format also at executive level and announced she herself would soon host a meeting of prime ministers and foreign and economy ministers from SE Europe to discuss the implementation of the announced projects. This happened on 28 August of the same year and the regular meetings were renamed the Berlin Process.


More from Politics