Juncker: Western Balkan countries will not join EU anytime soon

“I’m not in favour of the Western Balkans joining the EU soon,” the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker has said in an interview for the Politico website.

Juncker revealed that he was also against “taking away European perspective” from the region.

According to the website, Juncker said that “despite a challenging year” – the EU is “in the mood to tackle any problems that come its way, including Brexit and Donald Trump.” 

If the EU was falling to pieces, as Trump has claimed, “the western Balkans would lose the European perspective,” Juncker said. 

“I’m not in favour of the western Balkans joining the EU soon. But if you take away the European perspective, then we will again experience what we experienced in the 1990s. In this respect, the stability of the composition of the European Union is a prerequisite for the Balkans not being at war again. I hope (Trump) understood that,” the EC president is quoted as saying.

He added that Trump hadn’t of late repeated his call for other EU members to leave the bloc.

Juncker did acknowledge that Europe faces problems, including with Poland and Hungary, which have refused to accept refugees under the EU’s relocation scheme and come under criticism from Brussels for allegedly undermining the rule of law. He took a tougher line with Warsaw — which will be “more lonely after Brexit” — than Budapest.

On the subject of noisy neighbors, Juncker said enlargement talks with Turkey should not be halted, on paper at least. That goes against the line taken by the European Parliament and by the government of Austria, both of which have called for an end to the stalled talks in the wake of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s crackdown on opponents.

“Turkey is our neighbor, we can’t simply let it slip into oblivion,” Juncker said. “I am not in favor of ending the accession talks with Turkey, which is a demand from the European Parliament.”

(B92, Politico. 03.08.2017)




This post is also available in: Italiano

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