Sofia, May 17 (TASR) – The EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia on Thursday wasn’t supposed to talk about the enlargement but should have given a clear stance for the countries of the Western Balkans that the European Union counts on them and that it sees their future in EU membership, Slovak Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) said after the end of the informal summit in Bulgaria, in the country currently chairing the EU Council.
According to the prime minister, the EU must realise that China and Russia are very active in this region, so the EU should also have a major role to play in this area.
“In my speech, I, of course, expressed the support and attitude of Slovakia to the further enlargement of the EU, I encouraged the countries of the Western Balkans that have launched and are doing many complicated and difficult reforms to bring them closer to the EU membership” he said, adding that on the other hand he asked member states and EU leaders to behave correctly to these countries, and that if they are given conditions to join the organisation, they must “see the light at the end of the tunnel”.
Despite the fact that French President Emmanuel Macron, with whom the prime minister met at the summit, is cautious about the enlargement, according to Pellegrini, Slovakia will support the accession of these countries to the EU, even though he admitted that the EU enlargement isn’t a question of the next year or two.
The Sofia declaration, which was the outcome of the summit, suggested the year 2025 as a possible date for further enlargement in the original text, but it was finally agreed that this year won’t be mentioned in the declaration. Croatia will organise as the presiding country a similar summit in 2020, in which, according to the premier, the EU will have to be more specific.