Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer expressed objections towards Ukraine's quick accession to the European Union, but he advocated for Western Balkan states to join the Union as soon as possible.
Speaking at the Salzburg Europe Summit last weekend, the Austrian senior official said China is in the process of developing a stronger presence in the Western Balkans, stressing that the EU should “not be naive” about this situation.
He said that Vienna will remain a “strong and reliable partner of the Western Balkan states in achieving a level playing field for EU membership,” according to Anadolu Agency, which cited Austrian media as a source.
As for the accession of Ukraine, Nehammer said there would be “no fast track procedure” into the EU for the countries like Ukraine.
“There needs to be a level playing field because the European community must also take itself seriously through the membership frameworks it sets for itself,” Nehammer said.
Croatia became the first of the seven Western Balkan nations to join on July 1, 2013, with Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia as candidate countries.
Bosnia obtained the candidate status in December 2022 after submitting the membership application in February 2016.