EU needs Western Balkans, says Montenegrin president

EU needs Western Balkans, says Montenegrin president

EU needs Western Balkans, says Montenegrin president Izvor: REUTERS/Marko Djurica

Montenegrin President Milo Djukanovic said on Tuesday, after Western Balkan countries' leaders met outgoing European diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels, that the meeting was dominated by assessments that the EU's latest decisions were disappointing and that they undermined the credibility of the European policy on those countries.

Earlier this month, EU member states' leaders did not reach a consensus on opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, which was met with big disappointment and criticism in the Western Balkans.

"It's clear to all the people in Brussels dealing with the situation in the Balkans that the EU greatly needs the Western Balkan countries. Currently we have a confusion in those relations, but we remain optimistic that our future is in the European Union and that there is a place in the EU for the Western Balkan countries," Djukanovic told Montenegrin media in Brussels.

A farewell dinner organised by Mogherini was also attended by Presidents Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia, Hashim Thaci of Kosovo and Zoran Zaev of North Macedonia, and the three members of the Bosnian Presidency - Milorad Dodik, Sefik Dzaferovic and Zeljko Komsic.

Djukanovic said Montenegro began EU accession negotiations seven years ago under clear rules that were now being brought into question, adding that such a policy was not in the best European interest.

"We are not just Balkan countries but also European countries which have both the need and the possibility to talk about the prospects of our common European home."

He said Mogherini's message was that she expected the enlargement policy to continue, adding that Western Balkan countries were resolved to adopt the European value system and that they aspired to the European quality of life.

"We want to see how to continue that policy in changed circumstances. We also want to get a clear answer, through a clear dialogue with the EU, to some questions that remain open, although it seems to us that the messages from relevant EU addresses can be read quite clearly," Djukanovic said.

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