President of the Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) Milo Đukanović, at the opening of the Conference “Meeting the EU-Western Balkans Summit” organized by DPS along with the European Socialists Party (PES), claimed that the centuries-old interweaving of the great global powers in the Balkans threatens to endanger the countries in the region. Indeed, according to Đukanović, more EU in the Balkans means a faster level of integration and the EU needs to make stronger efforts to tackle problems beyond its borders. On this premises, President of the PES Sergei Stanishev claimed that it was wrong of President of the European Commission (EC) Jean-Claude Juncker, at the beginning of his term, to affirm that there would be no EU enlargement during his mandate. Indeed, according to Stanishev, without the Balkans, the enlargement process would not be complete. EU accession is not only a formal process, continued Stanishev, it is already a difficult process that requires mutual efforts and concrete solutions.
EU will present the “Credible Enlargement Perspective for the Western Balkans” on February 6th. The document will concern guidelines to boost the process of integration of Western Balkans countries, and in particular of Montenegro and Serbia. 2019 will be a crucial year for the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo, according to this paper, and for the negotiations of the chapters 23 and 24 for Serbia in the EU path.
Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov expressed hope on Monday that Macedonia will get a clear recommendation for the start of EU accession talks in 2018, the year when the country marks the 25. anniversary from establishment of diplomatic ties with Sweden and Finland. FM Dimitrov held a joint press conference with Swedish and Finnish counterparts, Margot Wallstrom and Timo Soini respectively, who are paying a visit to Macedonia. FMs Wallstrom and Soini voiced their countries’ firm support to Macedonia’s EU integration. Finland’s minister Soini said Macedonia is the first country he is visiting alongside his Swedish colleague. Discussions also tackled the name issue, with FM Soini saying Finland and Sweden are encouraged by recent results, also voicing satisfaction from the friendship treaty signed with Bulgaria. Dimitrov and Soini also referred to the Finnish education system, which is seen as one of the best in the world, and the possibilities for transfer of certain experiences in Macedonia. The three ministers also agreed on enhancement of bilateral cooperation at a higher level.