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Western Balkans: EU countries disagree on EU strategy

Bulgaria and Hungary urged to speed up the process

15 February, 19:26
(ANSA) - BRUXELLES, 15 FEB - Some EU countries want to speed-up the accession of the Western Balkans, while others think it will stay a future hypothesis. Europe is divided on the EU strategy for enlargement to the Balkan region, published by Brussels last week and debated today at the informal Foreign Ministers summit in Sofia. "If there's no enlargement now, there'll be no other time for enlargement. Otherwise, what China, Russia, Turkey are planning for the region, they will start today," said the Bulgarian Prime Boyko Borissov, whose country currently holds the EU rotating presidency. "I am very disappointed" at the entry target of 2025, the Hungarian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijarto, underlined. "Why we don't integrate Serbia and Montenegro before 2025, in 2022? Why do we have to wait an additional 7 years? I think 2025 is very late" for the two countries, that "deserve a much quicker way of integration". "It is obvious that the US has a strategy for the Western Balkans", as well as "Russia and Turkey", "it is only the European Union that is extremly slow when it comes to issues in the Western Balkans", and "should be much quicker", Szijarto urged. Italy, Poland and Austria are also among those in favour of stepping up efforts to open the EU to the region.

On the other hand, other countries, including France, Spain and Slovenia are more cautious. "It is unrealistic" to think that Serbia and Montenegro will be ready by 2025, Slovenian Foreign Minister Karl Erjavec said.(ANSA).

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