BRUSSELS, December 3 (FENA) – RCC Secretary General Majlinda Bregu took part in the high-level international conference on the future of Balkans “It takes two to tango: the Western Balkans between hope and reality” organised by Friends of Europe, in Brussels today.
In her opening address she said that it is time to end pretence and EU should honour its Treaty and come with a clear stand on the accession process of the Western Balkans.
She expressed her appreciation to the new EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen for clearly articulating the vision of Europe as a continent, hoping this will be the goal and approach of all EU Member States.
“And we in the region need to roll up our sleeves and embark fully on our reform agendas, beyond the bitterness and disappointment that is present in the region,” said the Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Majlinda Bregu.
She stated that this moment is maybe the biggest crisis in the EU-Western Balkans political standings since 1999.
Bregu hopes that the decision, not only on not opening the negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, but the decision that affects the whole accession perspective and membership process of other countries, will not affect heavily and disappoint the public administration in the first place which has to be motivated to carry on the reforms.
“Although the region places high hopes in the Croatian EU Council Presidency, it would be short-sighted and overly simplistic to wait from Croatia, Germany or France alone to change the directions of the cold winds over Balkans,” Bregu said.
However, a failure to make credible progress toward accession will backfire and slow down the appetite for reforms, increase interparty conflicts, and instability.
She further added that in the all-inclusive approach we should reflect on how to generate a new impetus to reinvigorate this process by offering new incentives and not creating new hurdles.
The participants touched upon the Western Balkans-EU relations, enlargement process and the upcoming 2020 Croatian EU Council Presidency, expected to put the Western Balkans higher on the EU agenda.
This year’s 20th edition of the high-level international conference offered a key moment to debate the future of the Balkans and explore new ideas and approaches in the presence of an audience of over two hundred people, including EU and national policymakers, government officials, representatives from business and international organisations as well as leading academics and journalists.