What comes next for the Western Balkan states?
The EU foreign ministers met on Monday to discuss developments in the Western Balkan states. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell called for the resumption of talks on the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. Visa-free travel to the EU for Kosovars and the lifting of Bulgaria's veto on accession talks with North Macedonia were also top priorities, he said.
EU has no plan
The meeting showed once again that the EU has no plan for the region, Jutarnji list concludes:
“In reality, this was a discussion without a conclusion. Everyone just said what they wanted to say. Everyone put an idea or non-paper [informal document] on the table, more and more of which have appeared recently. But there was no conclusion. Some ministers say that such a conclusion is needed in the future, and that the EU also wants to officially put its opinion on the region on paper. They say this is only the 'beginning of a broad discussion' to gather the opinions of the member states and then, at another meeting, to see if there is unity for a decision. ... This meeting showed more the inability of the EU to solve important issues in the region than a true sense of solidarity with it.”
Pacify the region
There can be no doubt about Croatia's interest in the summit, says Večernji list:
“With two neighbouring states [of the Western Balkans], Croatia has a special interest in this region being pacified in every respect. That it functions instead of being a source of instability. This can be best achieved through inclusion in the European processes. Membership alone is not the goal, but rather the transformation that these societies would undergo during the process: the strengthening of institutions, acceptance of the rule of law, cooperation with others. The alternative is a paradoxical blockade. We don't want to take them in because they are unstable, but nor are we willing to do anything to change that.”