Pahor talking EU enlargement to the region in Tirana

Tirana – President Borut Pahor met his Albanian counterpart Ilir Meta in Tirana on Thursday as part of a whistle-stop tour of the region in preparation for the 17 May regional summit in Slovenia. In a renewed call for EU enlargement to the Western Balkans he said EU membership would make country borders less important and cancel out the need to change them.

Pahor described his discussion with Meta on the situation in the region as long and candid. In addressing reporters after the meeting, he said he expected the Brdo-Brijuni summit to send out a strong message on the importance of the enlargement process.

He repeated that the process needed to be sped up bearing in not just specific countries but to the region as a whole.

“With EU membership borders between countries become less important and there’s no need to change them. We know from historical experience borders are never changed without victims,” the president was quoted as saying by his office.

The summit at Brdo estate will bring together the leaders of an initiative “which has been trying for ten years to encourage reforms in Western Balkan countries for their admission to the European Union as soon as possible and encourage the European Union to stay active and dynamic in this geopolitical project”, he said.

Pahor expects the upcoming summit to be one of the most important in the decade since he helped start what is a Slovenian-Croatian initiative in the region.

He is confident that the Brdo-Brijuni leaders are capable of applying their own experience and consensus to find a new impetuous and a rethink in the EU enlargement process. “This is not only of geopolitical significance but of irreplaceable importance for peace, stability and security of the region and whole Europe.”

Pahor met his Montenegrin counterpart Milo Đukanović in Podgorica on Wednesday saying he would like to carefully prepare the summit also in light of Slovenia’s presidency of the Council of the EU in the second half of the year.

Next week, he is scheduled to meet Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani in Prishtina on Thursday before being hosted by Aleksandar Vučić in Belgrade on Friday.

On Saturday, 15 May, Pahor is also expected to meet his Croatian counterpart and co-leader of the Brdo-Brijuni initiative, Zoran Milanović.

In preparations for the summit, Pahor met the Bosnia and Herzegovina presidency trio, Milorad Dodik, Šefik Džaferović and Željko Komšić, in Sarajevo in March after he met North Macedonia President Stevo Pendarovski in September last year.

According to Pahor’s office, all the leaders of the initiative have confirmed their attendance at the 17 May summit, including all three members of the presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina.