European Council president Charles Michel said in Slovenia on Aug. 28 that the European Union should be ready to accept new members by the year 2030.
Speaking at the opening of the Bled Strategic Forum, Michel said that if the EU wanted to be credible, deadlines had to be discussed, and that the preparation for the next EU strategic agenda must include setting a clear goal -- being ready to expand by 2030.
A European Commission enlargement package anticipated in October, he added, is a good opportunity to underline the specific details of accelerated integration.
In addition to the necessary reforms, he said, candidate countries must resolve issues from their pasts so as not to "import" them into the EU and allow them to be used as a way to bar the accession of neighbors and future members.
Slovenian President Borut Pahor said at the opening of the conference that the mere presence of all nations of the Western Balkans was a success, and that the war in Ukraine changed the dynamics of EU enlargement.
"Things are changing fast. Over the next 12 months there will be a new outlook to the enlargement process and I urge you all to continue with reforms, but also to be aware of transformations within the EU itself. We will have to reform our processes in the Union and that is why I say that it must happen in the next 12 months or it won't happen for a long time," he said.