Scholz on the eve of the Summit: We want the Western Balkans in the EU
In a government statement on the eve of the EU Summit, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made clear his position on the side of the six countries in the region and called on Bulgaria to lift its veto on northern Macedonia.
Chancellor Scholz also expressed understanding for the dissatisfaction of the countries of the Western Balkans. He said this afternoon in the Bundestag that he is no longer sure whether the Western Balkans Summit with the EU will take place tomorrow in Brussels.
"I am saying it very clearly, I hope the Summit will be held. According to our information, it is not certain that it will be held. And to be honest, this does not surprise me. Because when you raise hope, when you have introduced these countries on a road and when he convinces them that it is worthwhile to walk on the road to the EU and they make every effort, they risk political conflicts within the country, even, a country, Northern Macedonia, changes its name so as not to be in quarrel with Greece, then it is consistent for decision makers and their citizens to express their dissatisfaction ".
Scholz however underlined that if the Summit is to be held, it will not be easy. But for Germany it is important to position itself. Germany is on their side.
Abolition of the principle of unanimity
Earlier, the Social Democrat chancellor called for the abolition of the principle of unanimity in foreign policy and said that, like Ukraine and Moldova, which will receive a strong response to their application for candidate status, the countries of the Western Balkans deserve an answer. clear.
"That is why it was important for me to visit the region before my trip to Ukraine," the Chancellor stressed.
The Social Democrat politician described with emotional tones and words, unusual for him, the situation in which the Western Balkans is today, bringing to the deputies an impression he had received from his last meeting with the Balkan leaders in Thessaloniki.
"It has been almost 20 years since the EU in Thessaloniki offered these countries the prospect of membership. I was there a few days ago. And everyone reminded me of this, how it was decided. Then in Thessaloniki everyone thought they would be "EU members after five or eight years. And that has not been realized today," the chancellor said.
He further said that the time has come for the Western Balkans to be in the European Union.
"This was my message on my trip to the region. And this will also be the message that should come from tomorrow 's EU meeting with the six Western Balkan countries.
Criticism of Bulgaria
Scholz praised Bulgarian Prime Minister Kirill Petkov and said he plays a very constructive role in talks with Skopje.
"We know that even today there are debates in the country, because this is what often makes cooperation in Europe so difficult, that issues that are based on events that happened a long time ago, are suddenly used to confuse everything that brings "Therefore, I also hope that Bulgaria chooses a path that makes it possible to deploy its strength in the European Union, but also united with its closest neighbor in the Western Balkans," he said.
Scholz said he supported the efforts of the French EU presidency to mediate a compromise and expressed optimism that Bulgaria would find a solution:
"Ultimately, a stable and prosperous Western European Balkans is in our best interest."