The meeting between European leaders and Western Balkan countries, which took place in Slovenia on Wednesday, left a sour taste in the mouth rather than strengthening connections.

EU Balkan meeting
[Balkan and European leaders at Brdo Castle, Slovenia]

The meeting between European leaders and Western Balkan countries, which took place in Slovenia on Wednesday, left a sour taste in the mouth rather than strengthening connections. The continent lacks an exciting future due to the tiredness of growth in the West and the lack of political development in the East.

The European Union, which claims to desire to have more influence in the globe, is still undecided about the fate it would accord to nations in its near vicinity that apply to join it. The summit, which brought together the leaders of the six Western Balkan nations and those of the European Union for a few hours at Brdo Castle in Slovenia on Wednesday, ended with a modest message of optimism.

“We want to make a strong statement to the Western Balkans. We want you to stay in the European Union, so don't give up. "The objective is within grasp," said Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, upon her arrival in the region last week.

Although the final proclamation affirms "the Twenty-commitment Seven's to the expansion process," it falls short of expectations. Despite Slovenia's - the current President of the European Council - emphasis on gaining membership by 2030, it contains no deadlines or timetables.

The leaders of several of the countries present expressed their disappointment: "It is a great injustice, a lack of fairness towards the citizens of our country," indignant Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti said, noting that five EU member states had yet to recognize the former Serbian province's independence, which was declared in 2008. "I continue to hope that the EU will stay loyal to its expansion purpose," he added. he continues.

Serbian President Aleksandar Vui expressed his displeasure, saying, "I have no illusions about a quick admission to the EU." "At the moment, neither a dominating nor a popular subject is enlargement to the Balkans."

Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, and the Baltic nations are all supporters of the enlargement policy. "This is our backyard if we want to make Europe stronger and extend our geopolitical power," Latvian Prime Minister Krijnis Kari stated. "If the European Union does not provide this area a meaningful vision, we must be conscious that other superpowers - China, Russia, or Turkey - will play a role," says Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. There is a more significant role. Even though the EU remains the region's primary investor and contributor for the foreseeable being.

This sobering statement does not change the fact that the majority of Europeans are opposed to new memberships. Paris even requested - and received - a revision of the accession procedure in 2019 to make it less automatic. Fearful of repeating the disastrous experience of the 2004 Great Enlargement, the French, Danes, and Dutch want to ensure that the newcomers meet European standards in terms of economics and, most all, in terms of democratic values, the rule of law, and anti-corruption efforts. The European Commission's frequent reports, on the other hand, attest to the difficulty these nations have in beginning these reforms.

Some capitals that are rushing to join the European Union have not resolved their internal conflicts. French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Serbian and Kosovar leaders on Wednesday to encourage them to restore their relations, without which membership in Europe is unthinkable. The similar approach was adopted in an attempt to persuade the Bulgarians to withdraw their veto on the start of North Macedonian accession talks due to historic differences. For the time being, it's in vain.

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