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EU, 2025 is ambitious for Serbia and Montenegro to join in

New strategy for 6 W.Balkans, enhanced pre-accession funds

06 February, 18:57

(ANSA) - BRUXELLES, 06 FEB - Concrete initiatives to support the integration of the Western Balkans, strengthening of pre-accession funds for the region and policies that Serbia and Montenegro will have to adopt to join the European Union by 2025. The European Commission has introduced today an EU strategy for the enlargement to the Western Balkans which involves all six countries. "Although there will be no further enlargement within this mandate, with a strong political will the Western Balkans can move forward on their respective European paths," the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said.

Montenegro and Serbia could join the EU in 2025: this is an "indicative" but "very ambitious" perspective, Brussels underlines. The two frontrunners are required to "commit themselves to real and sustained reforms, and to the definitive solutions to disputes with neighbors". The normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina is "essential" both for Serbia and the whole region, EU High Representative, Federica Mogherini, pointed out. An agreement should be reached by the end of 2019. Kosovo, however, it is not indicated as a potential member country in the document.

Brussels provides six concrete measures in areas ranging from the rule of law to security and migration, from socio-economic development to transport and energy connectivity, digital agenda and good neighborly relations between 2018 and 2020. The EU sets out a financial commitment, with a gradual increase in pre-accession funding to the whole region until 2020. In 2018 the provision of 1.07 billion euro of assistance to the region has been foreseen.(ANSA).

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