Merkel: ‘Absolute interest’ in admitting Western Balkan states to EU

German Chancellor Angela Merkel sees it as absolutely necessary to integrate the Western Balkan states into the European Union.

“Europe has an absolute geostrategic interest in admitting these countries to the EU,” the conservative politician said on Monday evening during a visit to the Belgrade. Merkel had previously met President Aleksandar Vucic.

The six Western Balkan states of Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo are striving for EU membership, but still have to undergo many reforms before then. The road is long, Merkel and Vucic admitted at a joint press conference in the Serbian capital.

The chancellor also met representatives of civil society from the Western Balkan states in Belgrade, according to a German government spokesperson.

As part of her two-day visit to the region, Merkel plans to fly on to Tirana on Tuesday. There she is expected to meet the heads of government of the six Western Balkan states.

She said in Belgrade that she was convinced that the region was of great importance in European politics.

Vucic praised the German chancellor, who retires from politics in a few weeks. “We always found an open ear with her,” he explained.

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