German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has announced he would visit the Western Balkan countries ahead of the next month session of the European Council, when he will convey the message that the region belongs in the European Union.
Speaking at the Bundestag on Thursday, Scholz said that the six Western Balkan countries with the EU membership aspirations, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, have been in years-long reform process.
“Honouring our commitments to them is not just a question of our credibility. Today more than ever, their integration is also in our strategic interests,” he stressed.
The German Chancellor also warned about the influence of “external powers” in the region, including that of Russia.
Speaking about Ukraine's path to EU, Scholz expressed objection towards a “shortcut” to join the bloc.
He said it would be unfair to the Western Balkan countries, who have been waiting for years to join, if Kyiv was granted a quicker access.
“The fact that there is no shortcut on the road to the EU membership is an imperative of fairness towards the six countries of the Western Balkans,” he said.