In his address at the Bled Strategic Forum in Slovenia, Charles Michel of the European Council emphasized the importance of solidarity and unity, saying that Slovenia is not alone in facing the consequences of the recent floods.
“The European Union also provides great support together with its members and partners,” Michel said at the beginning of his speech.
He then noted that Europe, as well as the entire world, is facing a number of severe and unprecedented crises.
“This summer we had major disasters in Greece, Slovenia, the whole world, and that is why we must urgently accelerate the transition towards climate neutrality. The war in Ukraine also shows that peace and democracy should not be taken for granted, and this war has a major impact on the future of our continent and global security. Faced with these challenges, the EU has shown that it can react courageously and decisively when necessary,” Michel said.
“We should get rid of ambiguities. The road to the EU for the Western Balkans began more than twenty years ago. It was a region that emerged from the conflict after the breakup of Yugoslavia, but the slow pace of its European path disappointed many in the region and in the European Union. Therefore, I agree that Europe must fulfil its promises.”
He added that the EU must talk about deadlines when it wants to be a credible actor.
“We must set ourselves a clear goal and I believe that we must be ready on both sides to carry out the expansion by 2030. And this also means that the EU's long-term budget should include these common goals. I know it's a big ambition, but it's something that's necessary and shows that we're serious. It will provide a transformative impetus for reforms,” he noted.
Michel said that European leaders will discuss the issue of enlargement at the next European Council meetings.
“We need to talk about the opening of negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova and we also expect that Bosnia and Herzegovina and Georgia will return to the negotiating table,” Michel added.
The topic of this year’s Bled Forum is “Solidarity for Global Security.”