Grlic Radman Describes Western Balkans as EU Presidency’s Top Priority

Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman said before MEPs on Tuesday that the Western Balkans were a top priority for his country’s EU Presidency. In that regard, he added that starting negotiations with Skopje and Tirana was of special importance to the EU’s credibility. As the Minister also pointed out, the credibility of the European Union as a global player should pass a success test in its immediate neighbourhood. Success in the immediate neighbourhood, according to Grlic Radman, primarily means success in the Western Balkans. The Croatian Minister believes that the focus should be on stability, resilience, and security in the immediate neighbourhood. Furthermore, he said the EU had good reasons to continue to get committed to strengthening the European continent and not allow any region in Europe to deviate. In the long run, Grlic Radman stressed, it’s not sustainable for there to be countries on the continent that aren’t part of the EU. Moreover, he said that starting negotiations with Macedonia and Albania would be a clear sign that the EU’s approach towards its closest neighbourhood was strategic. According to French MEP Stephane Sejourne, if the enlargement methodology is revised and if the Union makes progress in its own reorganisation, Macedonia can start negotiations rather quickly. In an interview with MIA, he says that French President Emmanuel Macron has decided to turn the Zagreb Summit in May into success. Though Sejourne is aware that Macedonia has made progress to enter the next stage of its integration process, starting negotiations, he is also aware that the perception of France among both EU members and candidates has degraded as a result of the negative decision.