The entry of the countries of the Western Balkans into the European Union in 2025 is not impossible, but not too realistic at this time, because neither the EU nor the countries of the region are trying hard enough, stated today at a rally in Belgrade "A year from the Western Balkan Strategy: Can Serbia join the EU in 2025".
The European Commission's strategy for the Western Balkans, adopted in February last year, announced the possibility of membership of Serbia and Montenegro in 2025, and the participants said that this goal can only be achieved with the acceleration of reforms, especially in the area of rule of law, the resolution of disputed political issues and strengthening regional cooperation.
Stating that the Strategy came at the right moment, because prior to its adoption, the enlargement policy was at its peak, the Secretary-General of the European Movement in Serbia, Suzana Grubjesic, said that it is not easy to answer the question of whether 2025 is a real date because it does not depend on only from Serbia and only on the EU.
- There are obstacles from both sides that make that date impossible, but there are changes which are not so great, to make that date plausible 0 said Grubjesic on the gathering organized by the European Western Balkan.
Stating that the main obstacles to the slow pace of European integration are of a political nature, she said that the chances of speeding up the process would be greater when those problems were resolved.
- While political issues are in the process of integration, there is no chance that other topics such as the rule of law, internal reforms, independent judiciary, media freedom will be imposed and will come to the forefront - said Suzana Grubjesic.
She said that the first test for enlargement policy and the credibility and seriousness of the EU would be a June summit when at least Northern Macedonia should receive a date for the start of negotiations.
Executive Director of the Open Society Foundation of Serbia, Milan Antonijevic, believes it is absolutely unrealistic for Serbia to complete all the work and reforms in the field of the rule of law by 2023.
- Statements from a year and a half ago were clear - Serbia must not make a single mistake in the rule of law by 2023. If we look at the past year, we can't say that was the case because there is no progress, on the contrary, there are setbacks - said Antonijevic.
He added that the May elections for the EP will show whether the EU will be enlarged in the coming period.
He also noted that Serbian citizens do not have too many expectations for 2025, but that EU citizens do not have the idea that the process of EU enlargement exists.
Srdjan Majstorovic, the chairman of the Managing Board of the Center for European Policy, believes that 2025 is not impossible, but that it is not even overly realistic at this time because neither side is trying too hard.
- There is an obvious lack of confidence on both sides. In the EU, there are doubts about what kind of union we will have in the future, and in the countries of the Western Balkans there is a lack of enthusiasm, optimism, and appetite for serious social reforms - Majstorovic said.
He said that the countries of the Western Balkans, if they want to be closer to membership in 2025, should continue to develop regional cooperation, to start with serious democratization of society and to clearly and undoubtedly put the rule of law into focus.
- It is not impossible to use the momentum of 2025, but with the current state in the EU and Western Balkans, it is not too realistic to expect something like that - said Majstorovic.
(Telegraf.co.uk / Tanjug)