The conclusions made by the leaders of 28 EU country members in Brussels where they sent an invitation to the definite confirmation of the European perspective for the region and open support for the EU Western Balkan summit in Sofia in May this year, confirm that the European Union is seriously preparing for admission of new members and holds on to a specified dynamic in that process which is ahead of us, says dr Andjelko Lojpur, professor at the University of Montenegro.
Professor Lojpur says sturdy partners are necessary to continue with the reforms and that the “regatta” concept is a final decision.
“The year 2025 is in fact marked as a 'very ambitious perspective' therefore its fulfillment will entirely depend on objective recognitions and accomplished realizations of each country individually. Therefore, the same is applied to Montenegro and Serbia as the potential candidates. The strategy of EU extension is not fictional but is related to a strategic document with all the relevant guidelines which such document should have. That’s why this path is critical because firstly, it obligates its creator – the European Committee - to support the process of expansion financially on the grounds of several initiatives. Let us remember that the president of the EC, Mr. Jean Claude Juncker, said that the perspective of memberships in the EU of the countries from this region is in the political, security and economic interests of the Union and that it is a 'matter of geostrategic investment in a stable, strong and unified Europe made of joint values'. As someone who participates in negotiations and as a citizen interested in a positive process of the same, I think that for the first time we have stated assessments where the interests of the EU come first which is an additional warranty in the outcome of the process," said Lojpur.
For professor Lojpur, it is necessary to provide new encouragement to the reforms in the region, financial or other, to solve specific issues which the Western Balkans has confronted for a long time, and not to question the regatta principle.
“It is a known fact that the EU has so far reviewed the initial so-called Roman contract, that the first expansion occurred in 1973 when Great Britain, Denmark and Ireland joined, that the fifth extension was the biggest one when ten ex-socialist countries, in terms of incomplete transitional process, joined the EU, and the last one when Bulgaria and Romania joined, and the testimonies on a very dynamic process, where in global settings, each time one’s own political, economic and overall social, conceptual outline needs to be designed on new grounds ensuring the political stability to members of the EU and economic sustainability in its whole, as well as the anticipated level of efficiency and synergy of the EU as a system. It is a cohesive impression that Europe is on a milestone, as emphasized by certain leaders in the EU, especially after Brexit. The good thing about it that all the leaders in the EU agree on related to the commencement of new reform processes in the EU is that the core of the 'new' EU should consist of a strong Eurozone, but that a position also awaits the countries in the Western Balkans. Concerning this, suggestions have been made regarding the Western Balkans which will be announced at the EU and Western Balkan’s Summit on 17th May in Sofia”, says Lojpur.
Professor Lojpur emphasized that the latest document on the expansion policy is included in the broader strategy for strengthening the European Union until 2025.
“It is a document which is, principally, designed in the function of improving the democratic, institutional and political outline of the EU before it gets extended to the countries of the Western Balkan. Thereby it is strongly stressed that the encouragement of Balkan partners follow through with the reforms where they will have financial support. Directions for activities, dynamics and steps to be undertaken, no matter what phase they occur in, are stated to the countries in the Western Balkans. Their progress in reforms will be evaluated individually which finally means a commitment to the so-called 'regatta' principle," emphasized prof. Dr Andjelko Lojpur.
The EU, as he says, does not want to leave anything to chance and cause additional instability.
“Regarding the fact that the key reform task for the countries in the region is the reform in the domain of the rule of law, foundation law and solid management, reconciliation and establishment of good neighboring relations, solution of open bilateral disputes, and the consolidation of overall regional economic areas, it is evident that the EU does not want to import any disputes and instabilities which, currently aren't lacking, even in EU," says Lojpur.
Text by Daily newspaper, on March 26th 2018, read more at CdM