“The European Union does not offer fair and realistic membership prospects to the Western Balkan countries, and some EU members were more interested in hosting various summits for the sake of their own promotion than they were genuinely committed to the European integration of the region”, a professor at the University of Graz, Florian Bieber claims.
He believes that the Berlin Process, launched five years ago in order to bring the countries of the Western Balkans closer to the EU, should be abolished.
“The last summit of the Western Balkans within the framework of the Berlin Process took place on Monday in London, the capital of the country which has decided to leave the European Union which is a complete absurdity, considering that the officials from Serbia and other candidate countries spoke about its European perspective in a country that is leaving the EU”, Bieber, who was one of the summit participants, said.
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He also thinks that the Berlin Process is experiencing its downfall.
“This is not the fault of the Western Balkans, but the EU member states that are participating in it. Negative trends in parts of the Western Balkans are the consequence of the divided EU, which sends out contradictory messages and no longer offers fair and realistic membership perspectives. After all, the usefulness of the continuation of the Berlin Process should be questioned”, Bieber adds.
The Secretary General of the European Movement in Serbia, Suzana Grubjesic does not believe that the Berlin Process should be abolished because, following Croatia’s accession and EC President Jean-Claude Juncker’s decision to postpone further EU enlargement for the next decade, the Process does have a purpose.
“Many good projects have been launched, such as the regional economic area, the Niš-Pristina motorway, the reduction of mobile phone roaming costs, and, after the summit ended, Great Britain has allocated £10 million for the digital agenda in the region”, Grubjesic adds.
– The Berlin Process was launched on28th August, 2014, amidst Euroscepticism
– Many consider it to be Angela Merkel’s initiative
– The Berlin Process usually comprises to meetings between the representatives of the governments of the Western Balkans, chambers of commerce and civil society
– The goal is better political, economic and infrastructural integration in the region
This post is also available in: Italiano