A credible enlargement process of the European Union is a strategic investment and the accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia should be opened “without further delay or preconditions,” Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu said on Wednesday, as he participated in an event that marked the taking over by Croatia of the Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
“If we are talking about a Europe that has influence, this starts in our region. That is why the Croatian Presidency’s emphasis on the enlargement process is welcome,” he said.
In this regard, the Romanian top diplomat spoke about the expansion plans in the Western Balkans.
“We believe that a credible enlargement process of the European Union is extremely important, it is a strategic investment in the stability, security and prosperity not only of the candidate states, but also of the entire continent. We should therefore reach important decisions and open up the accession negotiations with Albania, with North Macedonia without further delays or preconditions and this should happen before the Western Balkans Summit in Zagreb,” Aurescu said.
Ambassador Marija Kapitanovic: For Croatia, the enlargement policy is a guarantee of European progress and stability and developments in this area
An informal summit on the Western Balkan countries will be held in Zagreb in May, said Croatian Ambassador in Bucharest Marija Kapitanovic.
“We believe in supporting a credible and merit-based enlargement policy (…). One of our priorities is the enlargement policy. For us, for Croatia, the enlargement policy is a guarantee of European progress and stability and developments in this area,” said the Croatian diplomat.
She went on to talk about the objectives of the Zagreb summit.
“There are two aspects: how to reinvigorate the enlargement process, how to keep the focus on the enlargement process, when we talk about Brussels’s perspective; on the other hand, when we talk about the Western Balkans, we talk about ways to renew the reform process, how we can give impetus to this reform process and finally how to reconcile these two positions. We believe that discussions on the new methodology should not be obstacles to the opening of negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania,” added Marija Kapitanovic., according to Agerpres.
The diplomat spoke of her country’s “optimism” with regard to the European Union.
“We are a relatively new EU state, we are still optimistic. We still remember very clearly the feeling of wanting to be part of this association,” she said.
Croatia joined the EU in 2013 and in January of this year took over the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union.