Vesna Pusić: The credibility of EU enlargement process to Western Balkans is very low at the moment
The credibility of the European Union enlargement process to the Western Balkans is currently ‘approaching zero’, that is, very low and not without reason, warned former Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusić.
In an interview with FENA from Prague, where she is participating in the Forum 2000 conference, Pusić pointed out that in the last ten years since Croatia joined the European Union, there have been so many mistakes and wrong political messages and signals from the European Union towards the Western Balkans.
But, some of the leaders in the region, first of all, the president of Serbia, Aleksandar Vučić, and the current president of the Republika Srpska entity, Milorad Dodik, who was much more moderate ten years ago, were leading their policies against enlargement, i.e. against the entry of their countries into the European Union.
“So on both sides, but also the side of third political factors, primarily Russia, there was an active policy against the membership of the Western Balkan countries in the European Union. In my opinion, the European Union also made some significant mistakes,” said Pusić.
One such example is the failure to open negotiations with North Macedonia when it changed its name, managed to negotiate the Prespa Agreement, and was then blocked in the first place by France. In any case, emphasizes Pusić, the promise made by the European Union has not been fulfilled.
However, in her opinion, this does not mean anything regarding the necessity for all the countries of the Western Balkans to become members of the European Union, because it is simply “the fate of this area”.
“And in the changed circumstances of the outbreak of wars almost every year in various parts of the world, this has meanwhile become, or should become, the key security policy of the European Union,” says the former Croatian foreign minister.
She points out that the European Union will not solve the issue of Russia and Ukraine, and it will not solve the issue of Israel and Hamas, but “the Western Balkans is de facto one topic and one issue that the European Union could and should be able to solve”.
Commenting on the messages from yesterday’s summit in Tirana within the framework of the Berlin process, she said that it is certain that the countries of the Western Balkans should meet the conditions but the question is not what should be done, but how to do it.
“It is obvious that the way it has been done so far and the approach it has been taken so far simply does not work. For example, while that summit was taking place, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić was at the summit with the Russians and the Chinese in Beijing, not with the Europeans,” she stated.
This also shows that the policy, which until now has gone in the direction of getting Serbia to become a member of the EU, and then everyone else will follow it, “simply failed and it doesn’t work anymore”.
This, as she points out, does not mean that Serbia should not become a member of the EU, “it absolutely should” but the only way to achieve this is to surround it with “success”, in other words, all countries that want to move towards the EU start showing results in that approach.