The Slovenia Times

Pahor, Grabar-Kitarović, Fischer Back EU Enlargement to W Balkans


President Borut Pahor told the press after hosting Croatian counterpart Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović and Austria's Heinz Fischer that the EU should not see enlargement as a technical issue but as a complex political process.

"I don't see any other possibility for peace, security, prosperity, reconciliation - not only in the Western Balkans but more widely in this part of Europe - without the inclusion of these countries into the EU within a reasonable time," Pahor said.

If the EU fails to see their path towards the EU as a political process, it might miss the opportunity and this region could become plagued by geopolitical tensions instead of having a European future, Pahor added.

Austrian President Fischer described the EU as one of the right steps taken after WWII, adding that the project was not yet completed and needed to be developed further.

This also concerns the Western Balkans, but equal rules must apply to everyone when it comes to entering the bloc, he said.

Grabar-Kitarović agreed, while arguing that enlargement had made the EU stronger and needed to continue.

Fischer mentioned Macedonia, expressing his wish it would try hard and convince EU members that it had made progress on the path to the EU.

The enlargement of the bloc will also be the main topic of a high-profile conference organised as part of the Brdo-Brijuni Process in Montenegro on 7 June. Fisher has been invited as well.

Meanwhile, the three president also touched on the question of the EU's institutional edifice, with Pahor noting the need for changes that would keep the EU competitive and a place of solidarity.

The trio agreed they would attend in August in Alpbach, Austria, a conference on the future of Europe and Pahor proposed that young people be invited as well to hear their perspective.

The meeting moreover touched on global issues, with Fisher highlighting Ukraine and relations between the EU and Russia.

He wishes that European politics would stick to the principle that borders in the 21st century can only be changed with negotiations and acknowledge at the same time that Europe and Russia have a lot in common and need to be respectful to each other.


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