Halt plans for Balkans, Slovenia's president warns

A weak EU will not be able to expand to the Western Balkans, the president said.

The EU has been weakened by Brexit and may need to postpone plans for expansion into the Western Balkans, the President of Slovenia has warned. Borut Pahor said the bloc could not hope to take on the likes of Serbia, Montenegro and Albania as new members in its current state. Speaking in the presence of the European Commission’s chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier, Pahor said: "A weak EU will not be able to expand to the Western Balkans.”

The Slovenian leader added “everything is connected and we are going through a period in which difficult decisions have to be made”. Negotiations have already begun with Serbia and Montenegro and the two countries could become fully-fledged EU members by 2025. The EU also hopes Albania, Bosnia, Macedonia, and Kosovo will be well on their way to joining by then.

Pahor also used the Bled Strategic Forum to criticise the European Commission for its inaction in the bitter border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia. And he warned the EU has lost credibility by refusing to take a strong stance on the issue. Both Slovenia, which joined the EU in 2004, and Croatia have laid claim to fishing rights in the Bay of Piran in the Adriatic Sea. An international court has ruled in favour of Slovenia, but Croatia has refused to accept the decision.

Pahor accused the EU of failing to support Slovenia and uphold European and international law, adding: “Why would the Balkan countries try to reach an agreement if, in the Commission’s opinion, such agreements do not need to be observed?”

Slovenia’s outgoing leader, Miro Cerar, used the forum in Bled to warn the future of multilateral alliances like the EU are at risk. He said: "The world has changed dramatically and multilateralism is being challenged severely.


Similar articles

  • Italy defied the EC by sticking to a big-spending budget plan

    Italy defied the EC by sticking to a big-spending budget plan

    Italy's 5-Star Movement-League government of PM Giuseppe Conte has chosen not to back down in a tussle with the European Commission over its budget plan for 2019, ANSA reported. The Commission has given 3 weeks until Tuesday to Rome to significantly change the package, which sees Italy running a deficit of 2.4% of GDP next year, saying otherwise it may open an infringement procedure for failing to respect the Stability and Growth Pack.

  • Downing Street: Draft Brexit deal with EU reached

    Downing Street: Draft Brexit deal with EU reached

    British and EU negotiators have reached a framework Brexit agreement that will be examined by the UK cabinet at an emergency meeting on Wednesday, PM Theresa May’s office announced. Downing Street says in a statement that the government will meet at 2:00pm (1400 GMT) on Wednesday to consider the draft agreement the negotiating teams have reached in Brussels, and to decide on next steps.

  • Czech PM's political future hangs on a threat

    Czech PM's political future hangs on a threat

    Opposition demands no-confidence vote on Andrej Babis’s minority government due to his son's allegations of kidnapping

    Andrej Babis, the Prime Minister of the Czech Republic, is facing a potential political crisis after he has been accused of authorising the kidnapping of his son Andrej Babis Junior to stop him from testifying in alleged criminal fraud in his father’s business dealings. Andrej Babis Junior, who was under investigation along with his father for EU subsidy fraud, was quoted saying Seznam news site yesterday that associates of the PM had persuaded him last year to either “take an extended holiday” in Crimea or risk to be forcibly admitted to a psychiatric hospital.