On Tuesday, 6 February, the European Commissioner for neighbourhood policy and enlargement Johannes Hahn needs to present the EU strategy in the Balkans. In November, he said that member States are ready to consider the possibility of joining the community of new countries. In particular, the main candidates are: Albania, Macedonia, Serbia, Montenegro, and Bosnia and Herzegovina. Of particular interest is the situation surrounding the possible EU accession of Macedonia. Greece intends to block its entry into the “common European home”, if this country will not be renamed, as Greece has a province with the same name. In this regard, Macedonia has decided to hold a nationwide referendum on the issue of renaming the Republic.
At the end of October 2017, the European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker said that most likely the extension block will occur from 2019 to 2024, after all procedures on the UK exit from the EU will be completed. The official reason for such expansion of power of the European Union called the desire “to bring peace to the Balkans”. The Financial Times writes that through the accession of new members, the EU wants to tighten control over migration, and to prevent the spread of Russian influence in an unstable region.
If the extension unit can be carried out according to the existing plan, it will be the largest in history.
“In General, the EU is interested in the accession of the Balkan States, says “MK” senior researcher of IMEMO RAS, head of the research sector of the European Union Yuri KVASHNIN. – Another thing is that the situation in different countries is radically different. I would highlight two countries. This Montenegro (already adopted the single European currency) and Serbia (which despite the Kosovo issue fairly quickly goes in the direction of integration).
About the other candidates, the situation is quite different. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a state entity with a low level of economic development, with a large number of outstanding institutional issues. This country if they join the EU, then in the distant future. Moreover, it should be noted that in this country will prevail disintegration processes.
You need to understand that the EU is an Association of Christian or post-Christian countries. In Bosnia not less than half of the population is Muslim. The same can be said of Albania, where most of the population is Muslim. Therefore, for the EU is, perhaps, the option of accession of Albania seems to be preferred”.
It is noteworthy that Turkey is not mentioned as a possible candidate for early entry into the European Union. According to the Chairman of the European Commission Juncker “Turkey has made great strides in the direction of the EU” and therefore, it eliminates the prospect of membership in the bloc in the near future.
As for the chances of Macedonia, this Balkan Republic, is a long dispute about its name with Greece. Since the collapse of Yugoslavia in 1991, Greece is trying to achieve the renaming of the neighboring country in order to avoid confusion with the Greek region of Macedonia. But we can assume that it is not only confusing, there is also the view that the coincidence of the names alleged evidence of territorial claims on the Greek region. The name with which Macedonia was admitted to the UN in 1993 – the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (BRYUM), also no longer satisfied with Athens. Last weekend in the Greek capital have held a mass protest under the slogan “Macedonia is Greece”.
For about six months, negotiations between the two sides under the mediation of the special representative of the UN Secretary General, Matthew Nimitz. The decision taken during the negotiations, will be submitted to a national referendum in Macedonia.
On the official website of the Prime Minister of Macedonia Zoran Zayed said: “You see that there is a transparent process, we want decisions based on national consensus, and that in the end it was confirmed by the citizens in a referendum”.
Not all existing EU member States share the policy of NATO expansion to the Balkans. “There are questions how successful in economic terms will be the integration. In order for these countries (Balkan States –”MK) to take on a higher average at the EU level, it is necessary to pour quite a lot of finances, – said Kvashnin. – There are EU members who are against the adoption of the States with unresolved territorial issues. Unity of opinion there, but the overall course of the EU accession of the Western Balkans has been adopted. Let me remind you that not so long ago, in 2013, took place the accession of Croatia, which is opposed by Slovenia because of unresolved territorial disputes. Yes, the accession process has dragged on for 9 years, but nevertheless, Croatia became a full member of the European Union”.
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