EU Neighborhood and Enlargement Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi has said that the people from the Western Balkans could create the next migration crisis, if the EU lets enlargement promises fail, and has called on the EU to strengthen cooperation with the Western Balkan countries on migration issues.
In an interview with Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet, Varhelyi said that the Afghan crisis had disclosed “how serious the consequences can be, if geopolitical decisions lack strength and consistency.” “We must keep our promises to the Western Balkans. For me, this is one of the most important lessons of the Afghan situation,” he said as reported by agency MTI.
He further said that “geographically, the Western Balkans is much closer to Europe than Afghanistan,” meaning that “the integration of this region has to be the EU’s priority.”
Speaking about Serbia, Varhelyi said it was up to the EU member states whether almost all negotiating chapters would be opened by the end of the year. As regards the EU path of Albania and North Macedonia, Varhelyi said that both countries had fulfilled all the criteria for launching accession talks.
Commenting on the EU-Western Balkans Summit, scheduled for October, the commissioner said he was looking forward to see which parts of EU plans for the region’s economic development could be implemented. “The goal is to support long lasting stability and peace in the region,” Varhelyi stressed.