The European Commission’s new enlargement strategy offers support for Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia – but insists they must step up reforms and fully embrace EU values if they hope to join.
The European Commission launched its new enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans on Tuesday, offering help for all six EU aspirant states but insisting that all the membership hopefuls implement reforms and make a clear commitment to the “fundamental values” of the European bloc in return.
“All the Western Balkan countries must now urgently redouble their efforts, address vital reforms and complete their political, economic and social transformation,” the strategy document says.
It says that the six countries have “a historic window of opportunity to firmly and unequivocally bind their future to the European Union”.
But it also makes it clear that the EU sees the offer of potential membership as a “powerful tool to promote democracy, the rule of law and the respect for fundamental rights” in the Balkans.
“Joining the EU is far more than a technical process. It is a generational choice, based on fundamental values, which each country must embrace more actively, from their foreign and regional policies right down to what children are taught at school,” it says.