ISSN 2330-717X

Juncker Heads To Western Balkans To Discuss EU Strategy


(RFE/RL) — European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker is embarking on a Western Balkan tour to promote the EU’s new strategy for the region.

Juncker’s tour to the six Balkan countries that remain outside the European Union starts in Macedonia, where he will hold talks with Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on February 25.

Earlier this month, the European Commission unveiled its new strategy to integrate Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia.

Among the six countries, the commission considers Serbia and Montenegro as current front-runners toward accession and the new strategy says they could be allowed in by 2025 if they meet all the conditions.

Juncker has warned that this was an “indicative date; an encouragement so that the parties concerned work hard to follow that path.”

“The EU door is open to further accessions when, and only when, the individual countries have met the criteria,” the EU road map said.

It insisted that the six countries still have many obstacles to overcome before joining the bloc, including regarding corruption, the rule of law, and relations with their neighbors.

EU member states Croatia and Slovenia are still locked in a border dispute stemming from the breakup of Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

Macedonia and EU-member Greece are engaged in UN-mediated talks to resolve a 27-year-old dispute over the name of the former Yugoslav republic.

The EU-sponsored dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina has produced agreements in areas such as freedom of movement, justice, and the status of the Serbian minority in Kosovo — as well as enabling Serbia to start EU accession talks and Brussels to sign an Association Agreement with Kosovo.

Juncker’ strip to the Western Balkans comes after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov traveled to Belgrade this week for a two-day visit aimed at bolstering longstanding ties with Serbia.

During the visit, Lavrov welcomed Serbia’s drive to join the EU, but also vowed that Moscow would remain engaged with the Balkan country no matter what happens.

“We always wanted partners to have a free choice and develop their political ties,” Lavrov said at a news conference with President Aleksandar Vucic, who is leading Serbia through a delicate balancing act.

Although Serbia is seeking to join the EU, it continues to nurture close ties with Moscow and has said it will not join the EU’s economic sanctions against Russia over its aggression in Ukraine.

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2 thoughts on “Juncker Heads To Western Balkans To Discuss EU Strategy

  • February 25, 2018 at 11:31 am


    This whole article hangs on the premise that any country that wants to join the EU – however bloodthirsty, violent, racist, sectarian or anti-democratic its culture – will, eventually, be admitted.

    Who promised this? Who agreed to this? On behalf of how many European citizens?

    It is quite clear to me and many others that some countries and cultures are fundamentally incompatible with ‘European’ values. Those should be told, politely but firmly, that there is no prospect of their being invited to join in any foreseeable future.

    In particular: Serbia and Republika Srpska.

    Have the Eurocrats forgotten the recent history: from Knin, though Vukovar, Ovçara, Osijek, Dubrovnik, Mostar, Sarajevo, Omarska, Trnopolje, Brçko, Manjaka, Gacko, Kalinovik, Foca, Bijeljina, Mitrovica, Stajicevo, Begejci, Nis, Srebrenica, Zepa, Prekaz, or Rogove? Four wars of aggression; ten years of genocide, ethnic cleansing, concentration camps, violence, institutionalised rape, murder, torture and starvation.

    And not just Milosevic, Mladic, Karadzic, Vuciç and the leadership. I was watching the reports during all those ten years. Not ONCE did any single Serb interviewed – from Milosevic down to ordinary ‘vox pop’ interviewees on the streets – apologise, express shame or remorse, or do anything other than complain that they [the Serbs] were being ‘victimised’. All the while their army and militias were using the ex-Yugoslav Army’s Russia-donated tanks, guns and equipment to terrorise every other republic. Every single Serb showed the same national paranoia, parrotting the1986 SANU Memorandum.

    Even in 2016 the architect of Serb ethnic cleansing – Vojislav Seselj – was standing for the Presidency of Serbia, with widespread popular support amongst Serbs. And today Alexandar Vuciç – Milosevic’s Minister of Propaganda and chief apologist “the Balkan Goebbels” – is Prime Minister. Serb acknowledgement or repentance? To this day: no sign of it.

    If the EU has any moral values [something about which I have serious doubts], it should make clear once and for all that Serbia is a pariah culture, excluded from the European comity of nations at least until an adequate period – a century or three – of demonstrated civilised behaviour.

    Parallel with the ethical concerns runs a practical problem: Serbia as a Russian ‘stalking horse’. Serbia has consistently supported Putinist Russian policies in the region, including the invasions of Crimea, the Donbas, Georgia etc., and interventions in Estonia, Latvia, Moldova [Trans-Nystria, Gagauzia] and Montenegro. Any EU action regarding Russia which required unanimity would be rendered impossible by a Serbian veto.

  • February 26, 2018 at 7:35 am

    When something is incorrectly named the ramifications are catastrophic. Fyrom needs to name itself in a historically correct way. History teaches us lessons for the future so distortions cannot be allowed. The Bulgarian speaking Slavic population of Fyrom can either reunite with Bulgaria or stay independent with an appropriate name. Macedonia is not that name because it’s a Greek name. We are getting tired of Bulgarian speaking Slavs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia claiming antiquity and Greek history. We are getting tired of seeing grotesque Italian reproduction statues erected in this pit of a place. We are getting tired of these Slavs parading illegal flags with Greek symbols around their country. We are getting tired of reading Antiquization propaganda coming out of the deluded uneducated diaspora of Australia, Canada & USA. We are getting tired of these Slavs stealing Bulgarian history. We are getting tired of these Slavs stealing Albanian history. we are getting tired of these Slavs stealing Serbian history. We are getting tired of seeing United Macedonian maps. We are getting tired of FYROM. The world is getting tired of FYROM. Mother Theresa. Samuel. Alexander. Phillip. Plato. Dalchev. Gruev. Thieves. False foundations have been set. Abandoned they felt by Bulgaria in 1913. Legitimacy they felt from Tito when he cut the umbilical cord from Bulgaria and gave them an identity. Legitimacy they craved in 1991 on the 8th of September when they were finally made independent.
    Macedonia is a region not an ethnicity. The word is Greek. As such only a Greek can call themselves a Macedonian if he or she so pleases to do so. A Bulgarian speaking Slav cannot. Slaveni from the Byzantine Empire via the Bulgarian empire via the Ottoman empire via the Serbian empire via Yugoslavia do not become descendants of Ancient Macedonians. They remain Slaveni. They speak Slavic because they are Slavic. No link to antiquity either via history or science. This is what we are all tired of. No FYROM Slav politician is welcome in Greece until they change their name, flag, school curriculum, airport name, highway names, football stadium names, destroy their Greek statues and start educating and rehabilitating their population. . Antiquization that has been used by these deluded ultra-nationalists is as bad as Scientology and believing in Martians.
    Zaev, Gruevski, Crvenkovski,Šekerinska,Bučkovski, Dimitriev, Kostov, Georgievski, Ivanov, Andov, Klimovski, you can all stay home. All of you have had ample time to come up with an appropriate name and all have failed. All of you have attempted to hang on to our history with your distortions and rhetoric.
    what you want to be called and what you are different. Greece will not compromise its beautiful nation and exceptional history for a nation of lost souls. When you are the most influential nation on earth and believe us when we say that Greece is, you do not negotiate your history.
    We gave you alphabet. We gave you democracy. We gave you religion. We gave you humanism. We gave you Alexander the Great. Instead of saying thank you Greece for giving us so much you assume a thieving position and try and snatch a story. A story that is a myth.
    It’s not the Republic of Macedonia. It’s the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. It’s not Macedonian. Its Ethnic Bulgarian. Ethnic Albanian. Ethnic Vlach. Ethnic Turk. Ethnic Serb. Ethnic Roma. This is what it is.
    As much as I loathe Golden Dawn, the person Dimitrov should be negotiating with on the name issue is Ilias Kasidiaris. He would be a match for any one of these historically deluded Slavs. No compromise. No concessions. No tolerance. A name that befits your nation is required.
    Good neighborly relations are not possible with Fyrom. They hate their own people – Bulgarians. Although they are ethnic Bulgarian they have been indoctrinated to hate Bulgaria. there is nothing more that they fear than a connection to Bulgaria. they have been brainwashed by Tito’s communists to think that Bulgarians are the enemy. Their names are Bulgarian. their dna is Bulgarian. their language is Bulgarian. a Fyromian Slav will find any agreement with Bulgaria painful for it disintegrates their new found antiquization program. meeting your biological parents after adoption is always difficult. Stay in Bitola you uneducated farm animal


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