Von Der Leyen: The EU is not complete without Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and the Western Balkan countries

European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said the EU is not complete without Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and the Western Balkan countries.

“You are part of our family; you are the future of our union. Our Union is not complete without you,” said von der Leyen.

Such a statement was made by the chief executive of the 27-nation bloc on Wednesday, September 14, during his annual policy address, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

The Czech Republic, which currently holds the rotating EU Council presidency, immediately applauded von der Leyen’s statement.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic called this statement important and, at the same time, stressed that these countries are the priority of its presidency.

“Important statement that the Western Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova and Georgia are part of the European family – this is the priority of #EU2022CZ. In addition to close cooperation with the wider neighbourhood, we look forward to the summit of the European Political Community on 6 and 7 October in Prague”, wrote the ministry on its official Twitter account.

The EU Council decided earlier in June to grant candidate status to Ukraine and Moldova and said Georgia would also get the status once the required criteria were met. At the summit of 23 and 24 June, the Council of the EU invited the Commission to give its opinion on the membership application of Ukraine and Moldova.

Furthermore, the same note noted that Georgia, which has applied for status together with Ukraine and Moldova, will be granted candidate country status once the priorities mentioned in the Commission’s opinion have been resolved and treated.

With regard to the Western Balkans, the Council declared in June that the EU expressed its full and unequivocal commitment to the accession perspective of the Western Balkans and called for the acceleration of the accession process.

“Based on the revised methodology, the European Council invites the Commission, the High Representative and the Council to advance the progressive integration between the European Union and the region already in the enlargement process itself, from a reversible and merit-based manner”, Council said.

The EU has already started accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. Albania became an EU candidate in 2014, while North Macedonia did in 2005. Although North Macedonia became a candidate before Albania, the country’s path to accession negotiations to the EU has been blocked by the Bulgarian authorities due to historical and linguistic issues.

As for Kosovo, the Council reaffirmed the urgency of achieving tangible progress in the settlement of bilateral and regional disputes, in particular the Belgrade-Pristina dialogue on the normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.

In addition to the above, the Council underlined as early as June its readiness to grant candidate country status to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and called on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s political leaders to swiftly implement the commitments set out in the agreement entered into on June 12, 2022.

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