The European Union's special representative for the Belgrade-Pristina talks and other regional issues, Miroslav Lajcak, said in Vienna on June 18 that efforts were needed to restart the EU integration process in the Western Balkans, because things were clearly not going very well.
"Eighteen years after a clear message was sent at the Union's summit in Thessaloniki, in 2003, that the region deserved a European perspective, only one Western Balkan state has become a member, two have started accession negotiations, yet with no progress over the past two years, two are still just hoping to become candidates and the Union has yet to liberalize its visa regime with Kosovo," Lajcak said after a Austria-Western Balkans Summit in Vienna.
Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, who hosted the conference, said that Austria was sending a million doses of Covid-19 vaccines to the Western Balkans, starting in August, and that an agreement was made that EU regulations like the Covid-19 green pass would apply to the region as well. Kurz reiterated support for the region's path to the Union, adding that Austria was promoting the idea that the progress that the states of the region were making in the accession process should be recognized across the EU.
The summit was attended by the prime ministers of Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia, Ana Brnabic, Albin Kurti, Zdravko Krivokapic and Zoran Zaev, the chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Zoran Tegeltija, and Albanian Minister of Infrastructure and Energy, Belinda Balluku.