The EU member countries had reached an agreement on the text of a declaration, which would confirm their commitment to the enlargement to the Western Balkans and would also underline the EU capacity to integrate new members, state public broadcaster RTS reported in the evening on Oct. 4.
The declaration to be adopted by the EU leaders during the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Brdo, near Kranj in Slovenia, on Oct. 6, was the result of a compromise reached between the member countries which had requested EU’s clearer support to the region and those which had initially rejected that the word enlargement be included in the text, RTS reported, citing diplomatic sources in Brussels.
“The EU confirms its commitment to the enlargement process based on credible reforms, fulfillment of strict and fair conditions and by the principle of own merits,” it is said in the document, which also underlines that the EU has “to maintain and continue its development, including the capacity to integrate new members.”
Although an agreement has been reached on the text of the declaration, the EU member states could again open a debate on its content during the summit, according to RTS.
Several EU countries, including Italy, Germany, Austria, Belgium, three Baltic state, and the Visegrad Group have requested more ambitious support to the integration of the Western Balkans than the usual formulation on EU prospect, while a deadline until 2030 for the accession of the region has been mentioned in some proposals.
On the other hand, skeptical countries, such as Denmark, Holland and France, had said they would back the enlargement only if it relied on the rigorous policy of meeting the conditions and implementing reforms, stressing that the EU’s readiness to integrate new members was an important element in the process, according to RTS.