12 states propose bringing W. Balkans to EU policy meetings
12 EU countries want to bring "the six western Balkan nations" to EU policy meetings "even before they join the bloc."Source: Reuters, Tanjug
Reuters reported this on Monday, citing "a policy paper" it had seen.
The goal would be to "improve the bloc’s image in the region" after "years of neglecting the six western Balkan countries," and while "looking to counter growing Russian and Chinese influence in the region."
The European Commission will on Tuesday unveil its enlargement strategy "that lays out how Serbia and Montenegro could become the first of the group to join the EU by 2025," Reuters said.
And Austria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Slovenia and Slovakia "want to go further and propose an annual EU summit with the Western Balkan leaders of Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia," the agency reported, citing the paper.
According to the proposal sent to he European Commission in late January, "the EU countries also want to allow ministers of Balkan governments to participate in top EU meetings in areas including the environment, health, transport and foreign policy."
Ending mobile telephone roaming charges for the Balkans "should also be considered," the propsal said. “These are cost-free measures that would have a tremendous political impact and would be instrumental in improving the EU’s image in the region."