Why did Juncker travel to Balkans, wonders Moscow daily

The head of the European Commission last week "outlined EU's strategy in the Balkans, which implies that the place of the Balkans is in the EU."

Source: Beta
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(Getty Images, file)
(Getty Images, file)

Beta agency is reporting this on Monday, citing Moscow-based Kommersant daily.

According to this, the paper also pointed out that in this strategy, "it is clearly indicated that Europe is not interested in strengthening the role of the United States in the region - because in that case, the strengthening of Russia's influence would follow."

The daily writes that during the visit of Jean-Claude Juncker to the Balkans, there had been no surprises, "because in both Serbia and Montenegro he stated that these countries are closest to EU membership."

The article observed that on the eve of Juncker's visit to the Balkans, AP agency said that its unofficial goal was to "weaken the influence of Russia in the region."

Now "many found confirmation of that theory in Juncker traveling to the Balkans immediately after the visit to Belgrade by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov" - who received assurances from Serbia's leadership of their "pro-Russian position."

Kommersant then cited unnamed diplomatic sources "from one EU country" who said that Juncker's tour of the region "confirms EU's readiness to return to the Balkans, to attract the countries of the region, and not allow the strengthening of the influence of other world players - Russia and the United States."

The newspaper further writes that this "bothers Russia above all" - and adds that "a response of its own kind" to Juncker's visit was presented by Lavrov in his interview with the Bulgarian edition of International Relations, when he said that Moscow "does not see a problem in the intention of Balkan states to enter the EU, -but they should assess independently how much the conditions made b Brussels correspond to their national interests."

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