EU enlargement is in our interest: German Chancellor

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Monday that she sees the six Western Balkan states as future members of the European Union for strategic reasons.

“It is in the European Union’s very own interests to drive the process forward,” Angela Merkel told reporters after a virtual Western Balkans conference, hinting at the influence of Russia and China in the region.

According to Reuters, she said that stronger regional cooperation promoted since 2014 had already achieved initial successes, such as a roaming agreement that had just come into force.

The German Chancellor also emphasised that France’s President Emmanuel Macron had “very clearly” declared his support for the prospect of the six states joining the EU.

The conference was attended by the heads of government of Serbia, Albania, Northern Macedonia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and Kosovo, as well as European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

The EC President said that “our first priority is to accelerate the enlargement agenda across the region and support our Western Balkan partners in their work to deliver on the necessary reforms to advance on their European path”.

Angela Merkel added that Germany would give 3 million COVID-19 vaccination doses to the Western Balkan nations “as soon as possible”.

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