Conflicts & War

EU’s Von der Leyen: Western Balkans must decide which side they are on

Tirana, Dec 6 (EFE).- European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen on Tuesday urged the Western Balkan countries to decide which side they back, the European Union or Russia.

It is “a question of whether autocracies and the law of the strongest will prevail. Or whether democracy and the rule of law will prevail,” Von der Leyen said.

“And this struggle is also noticeable in the Western Balkans. Russia is trying to exert influence, China is trying to exert influence,” she added. “You have to decide which side you are on – the side of democracy, that’s the European Union, your friend and partner. Or do you want to take a different route?”

Von der Leyen believes that Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia should get closer and integrate into the EU.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz described the pace of EU enlargement in the region as “a great sign of hope”, saying it is important to give a “new impetus” to the process that began almost 20 years ago and has been stalled for a long time.

Scholz stressed that “everything possible” should be done to “continue developing relations and to strengthen them for the future we want to have together” and placed special emphasis on cooperation on energy security and migration issues. EFE


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