Official says Balkans must end bilateral disputes to join EU
SKOPJE, Macedonia (AP) — European Council President Donald Tusk urged Western Balkan leaders Friday to solve festering bilateral issues and deliver a clear signal their countries are ready to join the European Union.
Speaking at a regional summit in Macedonia, Tusk focused on the independence dispute between Serbia and Kosovo, and the naming dispute between Macedonia and EU member Greece.
He said it is up to regional leaders to make “extra efforts” to overcome their disagreements, adding that the EU remains the most reliable partner for Western Balkan countries.
“Reconciliation in this part of Europe is important for the whole continent, for our stability, peace and prosperity,” Tusk said.
“It is possible that the history of the Balkans, a kind of a never ending horror movie can turn into an Oscar winning production with a happy end,” he added.
This week, Tusk visited Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia and Macedonia — all former Communist states and EU hopefuls.
Heads of state or government from all five countries, as well as EU members Croatia, Slovenia, and Bulgaria, attended the meetings in Skopje.