Šarec urges EU membership for W Balkan candidates


Šarec reiterated Slovenia's disappointment with the EU's failure at the end of last year to decide to launch accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania.

Debate on the EU's future will be incomplete if enlargement is not implemented, he was quoted as saying in a press release from the Government Communication Office.

Šarec also sees the Western Balkans as an important EU partner in fighting against organised crime and corruption and in working with the bloc on migration management.

"At the end of the day, continuing enlargement is the only option we have if we want a stable and strong Europe.

"Only such an EU will be able to play an important and responsible role in a globalised and changing world," the prime minister stressed.

Šarec is convinced future debates among EU members will prove the EU is able to reach a consensus on the region's EU future and belonging.

"The region's EU membership must be our final goal, and the steps towards the goal need to be sped up rather than slowed down while membership conditions are being met."

He thus expressed an expectation that the EU reach a consensus to launch accession talks with North Macedonia and Albania in March.

The panel's debate focussed on ways of enhancing the Western Balkans' development through enhanced regional cooperation.

Šarec also met Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov; the pair confirmed good bilateral relations and highlighted the potential to improve economic cooperation.

They also agreed about the importance of integrating the region into the EU.

Šarec's agenda today also includes a working lunch at which creating growth for Central and Eastern Europe will be discussed as well as meetings with European Investment Bank vice-president Alexander Stubb, IMF director general Kristalina Georgieva and European Research Council president Mauro Ferrari.