Paet: Further expansion in western Balkans will strengthen EU security
Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Paet that membership in the European Union is the most efficient way to prevent conflicts within Europe.
Member states of the European Union can settle differences by different means, other than violence. Paet,speaking at the European Union Expansion Forum in Dubrovnik, Croatia, said that the western Balkan states have markedly changed their image for the better, thanks to the potential of EU membership.
“In order to ensure the peaceful future of Europe, we must simultaneously deal with European Union’s inner conflicts as with the expansion politics. A membership prospective must be given to all European countries who wish for it and are ready to fulfill the set terms to achieve it”, Paet said.
Membership should be achievement-based, he said. Croatia’s membership should be set as an example for western Balkan countries, for it shows how working hard in order to achieve a long-term goal gives results. Paet also highlighted Serbia and Kosovo, which in his opinion show how European values help different parties to cooperate.
”We wish luck for Serbia in forthcoming accession negotiations and welcome Kosovo’s path towards the European Union," Paet said. "Montenegro’s current motivation regarding their accession negations and the implementation of required reforms is commendable." Paet said he hopes to see Montenegro keep up with the given timeframe.
Paet said giving Albania candidate state status has been an important sign of consistent expansion politics. “When it comes to Estonia, then our foreign policy is focused on supporting the accession talks for Macedonia”, he said.
The Croatia Forum took place from Wednesday to Friday. The EU and West Balkan foreign ministers were present, as well as representatives from China, Japan and Russia. U.S Assistant Secretary of State in charge of Europe’s and Eurasia’s Affairs, Victoria Nuland, was also present.