President: Regional Initiatives Shouldn’t Be Seen as Substitute for EU Membership

EU enlargement with Western Balkan countries is of geopolitical and geostrategic importance when it comes to contributing to the rule of law, stability, and economic development of the region. The EU has lost its credibility by allowing bilateral issues to be part of the accession process even though the Copenhagen criteria are credible when it comes to EU integration, according to President Stevo Pendarovski. As he added on Thursday, regional initiatives such as Open Balkan should be seen as an instrument to deepen economic and political relations between countries, not as a substitute for full-fledged EU membership. Head of the EU Delegation, Ambassador David Geer, explained that now was the time for the enlargement process to be more dynamic and more real.