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Scholz Advocates Reform-Driven EU Path for Balkans

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz advocates for expedited EU membership for the Western Balkans, stressing reforms over geopolitics

In a significant statement during his visit to Slovenia, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has strongly advocated for the acceleration of the Western Balkans’ accession to the European Union (EU), emphasizing the necessity of concrete reform steps over mere geopolitical considerations. Speaking alongside Slovenian Prime Minister Robert Golob, Scholz reflected on the slow progress since the Thessaloniki promise of EU membership over two decades ago and highlighted the new momentum in addressing key issues obstructing the process.

Scholz’s remarks stressed the importance of resolving bilateral conflicts, notably mentioning the Serbia-Kosovo dispute and the need for progress in North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. His acknowledgment of the commencement of negotiations with Bosnia and Herzegovina marks a significant step forward, underlining the EU’s active role in fostering necessary reforms.

Furthermore, Scholz recognized the Berlin Process, initiated by his predecessor Angela Merkel, as a vital tool for enhancing cooperation in the region, signaling a continued and intensified commitment to the Western Balkans’ EU integration path. Prime Minister Golob expressed gratitude towards Scholz for his instrumental support in advancing the EU enlargement agenda, particularly at the European Council.

This diplomatic engagement underscores a renewed European commitment to integrating the Western Balkans, highlighting the shift from geopolitical maneuvering to tangible, reform-oriented progress.

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