Bulgaria’s EU presidency offers Western Balkans unique opportunity    

Objavljeno : 23.01.2018. Štampa El. pošta bookmark

This year is supposed to finally see progress on the Western Balkan countries’  long and tortuous journey towards European Union membership, with at least three successive EU presidencies – Bulgaria, Austria and Romania – keen to make enlargement one of their main priorities. theBut a long shadow was cast on Serbia’s plans after the murder on 16 January of a Serb leader in Kosovo effectively halted Belgrade’s EU-sponsored dialogue with Pristina, seen as key to normalising relations and smoothing their EU prospects.


Calling on Serbian citizens to support their government’s plan of reforms and European integration, Bulgarian Ambassador to Belgrade, Radko Vlaykov described 2018 as a unique opportunity for the Western Balkans to be back in the spotlight and make progress towards EU membership.


“I am sure that when the politicians and citizens accept the EU as a common goal, membership will come quicker. Be united and strong,” said Vlaykov. He added that his government had invested a lot of effort in convincing the EU of the need to refocus on the Western Balkans and would continue to do so.


The head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, Sem Fabrizi, also described 2018 as a unique opportunity for “irreversible steps”, with Bulgaria acting as “a true bridge”.


Fabrizi said he expected to see progress at the upcoming summit of EU and Balkan leaders in Sofia on 17 May.


The EU first held out its hand to the region at the Thessaloniki Summit in 2003, adopting a declaration that offered the Western Balkans a prospect of joining. The pace of accession would strictly depend on each country’s progress in implementing legal, political and economic reforms, the EU stated.


However, the only country from the region that has joined the EU so far is Croatia, which became a member in 2013.


Full Agenda


In February, the EU will unveil an enlargement strategy that is expected to mark 2025 as the year when Serbia and Montenegro could become members of the bloc. It is also expected to give the four other countries – Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia – a roadmap towards membership with clear tasks to fulfil.


Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker personally backed Bulgaria’s plan to put Western Balkans back on the table in Sofia last week.


Serbia’s Minister of European Integration Jadranka Joksimović voiced hope that the enlargement document will reflect “the positive tone and spirit of the message” delivered earlier by Juncker that Serbia and Montenegro will be the regional frontrunners in EU integration, but that the other candidates in the region will also be given a chance.


The Commission’s enlargement report, expected to be published in April, will be the first assessment of the progress of Serbia and the other countries towards EU membership since November 2016.


In what would be another milestone for the region, the reports on FYR Macedonia and Albania are expected to recommend that the EU open membership negotiations with them, leaving only Bosnia and Kosovo outside the accession process. Macedonia’s main obstacle is its long-running name dispute with Greece, which it must resolve.


The EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia will be followed by a conference in London, as part of the Berlin Process – another initiative aimed at helping the Western Balkans,  promoted by Germany, which takes over the EU presidency in the second half of 2021.


The shadow of the Kosovo murder


The presentation of Bulgaria’s presidency priorities in Belgrade on 16 January was overshadowed by the news of the assassination of Kosovo Serb leader Oliver Ivanović, which prompted the Serbian delegation to return from Brussels, where it was due to relaunch the Belgrade-Priština technical dialogue after a 13-month hiatus.


Reaching a comprehensive agreement with Kosovo is one of the prerequisites for Serbian EU membership. Kosovo’s independence, declared in 2008, has been recognised by more than 100 countries, including 23 EU member states, but not Serbia.


It is not known when the dialogue between Belgrade and Priština will resume, pending a full inquiry into the murder by the police in Kosovo.


Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić will visit Kosovo over the weekend of 20-21 January with the aim of “calming tensions and heartening the citizens.” Ethnic Serbs in Kosovo are a minority but have a degree of autonomy in its northern region.


Aside from the crucial chapters on the rule of law and relations with Kosovo, Serbia has plenty of other boxes to tick en route to the EU. Since the start of accession talks in 2014, Serbia has opened 12 chapters and closed two, means that it still has to open 23 more chapters and, more importantly, close all 35.


Montenegro, Serbia’s tiny southern neighbour, started accession talks in 2012 and has opened 30 chapters so far, expecting to open the remaining five this year.


Izvor: EURACTIV.rs

Photo: Beta


Pošaljite komentar
Pošaljite komentar



Elektroprivreda Srbije
luxemburg mali
Fond za otvoreno drustvo Srbija
CAN Europe

13.02.2018, Beograd
Organizator: BCBP
08.02.2018, Beograd
Organizator: Evropska platforma za ZB
07.02.2018, Beograd
Organizator: CFP, Fondacija Hans Zajdel
01.02.2018, Beograd
Organizator: BCBP
30. i 31.01.2018, Beograd
Organizator: MDULS, ReSPA
24.1.2018, Beograd
Organizator: Tempus - Erazmus+
16.1.2018, Beograd
Organizator: Ambasada Bugarske
17.01.2018, Beograd
Organizator: Koalicija za REKOM
21.12.2017, Beograd
Organizator: POINTPULS i RAI
19.12.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Koalicija prEUgovor
14.12.2017, Priština
Organizator: Energetska zajednica
13.12.2017, Beograd
Organizator: EU info centar, CAPE
13.12.2017, Beograd
Organizator: EPuS
08.12.2017, Beograd
Organizator: EPuS, EIB
08.12.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Savet Evrope, EU
07.12.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Delegacija EU, EU Info centar, KCSD, Fondacija Divac
05.12.2017, Beograd
06.12.2017, Beograd
Organizator: EPuS
05.12.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Delegacija EU i RZS
29.11.2017, Beograd
Organizator: EPuS i Fondacija Fridrih Ebert
17.11..2017, Beograd
Organizator: Koalicija 27
15.11.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Delegacija EU, UNDP
15.11.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Balkanmagazin
14.11.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Delegacija EU, Ministarstvo rada, EU info centar
07.11.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Delegacija EU, EU info centar, PKS
03.11.2017, Beograd
Organizator: ISAC fond i Fondacija Fridrih Ebert
01.11.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Evropski pokret u Srbiji
31.10.2017, Beograd
Organizator: EPuS i FPN
01 - 02.11.2017, Novi Sad-Beograd
Organizator: Francuski institut
25.10.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Koalicija prEUgovor
24.10.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Evropski pokret u Srbiji
23.10.2017, Beograd
Organizator: RYCO
17.10.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Fondacija Tempus
12.10.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Građanske inicijative
11.10.2017, Beograd
Organizator: TACSO
10.10.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Delegacija EU i Tim UN
09.10.2017, Brisel
Organizator: Savet za regionalnu saradnju
06.10.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Fondacija Tempus
05.10.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Forum za međunarodne odnose Evropskog pokreta u Srbiji i Fondacija Fridirh Ebert
02.10.2017, Beograd
Organizator: CZKD
28.09.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Fondacija Tempus
26.09.2017, Beograd
Organizator: EUNIC Srbija
22.09.2017, Novi Sad
Organizator: CINS
21.09.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Ministarstvo pravde
20.09.2017, Pančevo
Organizator: Gradska uprava Pančeva
19.09.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Delegacija EU, EU info centar i SKGO
18.09.2017, Beograd
Organizator: BOŠ i Kancelarija za saradnju sa civilnim društvom
15.09.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Beograd Prajd
14.09.2017, Beograd
Organizator: POINTPULS i BCBP
15.09.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Delegacija EU u Srbiji
14.09.2017, Vlasinsko jezero
Organizator: Evropski PROGRES
13.09.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Centar za spoljnu politiku
06.09.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Ujedinjene nacije
05.09.2017, Beč
Organizator: Energetska zajednica
25.08.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Balkanmagazin i EPS
25.07.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Beogradski centar za bezbednosnu politiku
06.07.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Ministarstvo zaštite životne sredine i Nacionalni konvent
04.07.2017, Beograd
Organizator: ISAC fond i Fridrih Ebert fondacija
30.06.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Centar za spoljnu politiku i Fridrih Ebert fondacija
22.06.2017, Beograd
Organizator: CEP, EU Info centar
22.06.2017, Beograd
Organizator: EU info centar
22.06.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Fondacija Hajnrih Bel
15 - 17.06.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Evropa Nostra, Evropa Nostra Srbija, Mreža za nasleđe JIE
14.06.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Ambasada Italije u Srbiji
15.06.2017, Beograd
Organizator: Novinska agencija Beta
18.05.2017, Beograd
Organizator: EU info centar
18.05.2017, Beograd
Organizator: EU info centar
25.05.2017, Beograd
Organizator: EU Info centar


EurActiv franšiza za Srbiju:
Novinska agencija BETA, direktor: Radomir Diklić, glavni i odgovorni urednik: Dragan Janjić
Novinska Agencija Beta
Developed by Zorica Filipović, Predrag Tošić