Diplomacy: Scholz: Balkan states are part of democratic Europe

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has welcomed the efforts of the six Balkan states that are striving to join the EU for greater cooperation.

Diplomacy: Scholz: Balkan states are part of democratic Europe

Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has welcomed the efforts of the six Balkan states that are striving to join the EU for greater cooperation. After the Russian attack on Ukraine, integration has become even more important, Scholz made clear on Thursday in Berlin at the start of a summit meeting with the Balkan states of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

"Europe is only complete with the Western Balkans," said Scholz. "The six states of the Western Balkans belong to the free and democratic part of Europe." The prosperity and stability of this region cannot be separated from the rest of Europe.

It is planned that the Western Balkan countries will sign agreements on the mutual recognition of identity cards and university and professional qualifications, which have been negotiated for two years. It should also be about the energy crisis and about reforming and better networking the energy sectors. In return, Germany and the EU are ready to pledge support. The heads of the European Union and the heads of government of several EU countries will also take part in the summit.

Scholz called for the efforts to integrate the Balkans into the EU, which began 20 years ago, to be stepped up. "It is our task to turn these promises into reality," said the Chancellor. The agreements would be entered into in an environment of heightened urgency. "Russia's brutal war of aggression against Ukraine is forcing us to stand together and securely defend Europe's freedom," said Scholz. He called for overcoming regional conflicts. The Western Balkans can count on Germany's support. All six countries are striving to join the EU, but are at different stages of getting closer to the EU.

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