Tirana – National Assembly Speaker Igor Zorčič stressed that Slovenia supported the EU’s enlargement to the Western Balkans, as he attended a conference of speakers of parliament from the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative in Tirana, Albania, on Friday. Zorčič believes that enlargement policy remains the EU’s main geopolitical tool.
“Enlargement is a mutual geopolitical interest of the EU and Western Balkan countries” because only with a stable Western Balkans can the EU achieve its goals.
He said that the unresolved issues and tensions in the region were particularly acute in the wake of the war in Ukraine, which was why concrete and decisive action was key to strengthening the confidence of the Western Balkan countries in the EU.
In addition to EU enlargement, the conference also discussed challenges in the culture-tourism sector, which has been affected by the war in Ukraine inflation, the pandemics and climate change.
However, Zorčič said that countries could find answers to the problems in this sector, including through international forums such as the Adriatic-Ionian Initiative.
Various financial incentives are also available, while international integration in this and other areas would be much easier if the Western Balkans were part of the EU.
The Adriatic-Ionian Initiative brings together nine countries, including Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Greece, Italy, Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Slovenia. Slovenia is a co-founder of the Initiative, which was officially launched in Ancona, Italy, in May 2000.