The West Balkan countries express frustration over the long-term integration process as Ukraine and Moldova are granted candidate status. Die Welt reports
European Union members are locked in heated debates after Ukraine and Moldova were granted candidate status, Germany’s Die Welt reports. The news comes amid Western Balkan states voicing their frustration of the admittance process.
According to Die Welt, Thursday’s summit between 27 EU leaders and six heads of government from the Western Balkans was expected to be a big breakthrough in regards to accession talks. One of the most important topics was the announcement about the much-awaited accession for North Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo who had been on the EU waiting lists for 17 and 8 years.
These talks did not take place after Bulgaria objected to North Macedonia’s acceptance, citing long-standing disputes about language, history and rights of the North Macedonian minority.
Since the accession process can proceed only under unanimous support, Bulgaria’s opposition effectively put a veto on the talks, which in turn put a halt to talks for Albania, since it is next in line after North Macedonia.
Edi Rama, the Prime Minister of Albania, criticized the summit for being a “stunt”. “terrifying show of incompetence”He expressed his dismay, saying that “not even a war in Europe, which could become a global catastrophe, was able to bring about their unity,”As quoted in Die Welt.
With support from Hungary and the Czech Republic, Slovenia tried to persuade other EU members to accept Bosnia-Herzegovina (a Western Balkan state that had been promised accession in 2003) as a candidate.
“It needs the same rules for everyone. We must not use double standards in the accession process,”Karl Nehammer, Austrian Chancellor was quoted saying. “It is a matter of fairness and a question of credibility,”He concluded.
According to Die Welt however, some EU leaders weren’t onboard. Some even stated that they were not. “not at all prepared for Bosnia-Herzegovina”It was. “not possible” to reach a decision on the issue during Thursday’s summit.
Some leaders pointed out the inconsistent and flawed logic of the accession process as the heated debate escalated. They noted that Bosnia had to meet many conditions in order to be granted the status of candidate country, while Ukraine was allowed to do so after being named candidate countries.
Die Welt notes that the debate ultimately amounted to nothing but a promise from the EU Commission to bring the topic up again during the next EU summit in October, where a concrete date for Bosnia’s candidate status talks would be discussed if the country carries out all the reforms, particularly in election law, required by the EU.
For Bosnia-Herzegovina however, this promise might not be much, as Bosnia-Herzegovina is scheduled to hold early October presidential and parliamentary election, while its population becomes increasingly disillusioned by the absence of any prospects for accession.
According to Die Welt, during the heated debates, some EU leaders also pointed to the hypocrisy of the leaders of the EU’s top economies, such as France and Germany, who had previously opposed Ukraine’s membership in the bloc only to make a complete U-turn on the issue following their visit to Kiev.
According to reports, Nehammer, Austrian Chancellor, noted this. “Germany and France were more than skeptical” about Ukraine’s status before they came under pressure in their own countries for “doing too little”Kiev
The support from the French President Emmanuel Macron as well as German Chancellor Olaf Scholz might have helped Kiev get the way to membership. However, Die Welt points that while the grant of Ukraine and Moldova candidate status is not a significant change in the actual process, it doesn’t entail any legal obligation and could still take place. “decades”To become full-fledged member
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