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Slovenia Weekly

European revitalisation of the Balkans

08.07.2016

Photo: Mostphotos
One of the main fears found in countries in the Western Balkans is that the result of the British referendum will slow down or even stop the enlargement of the Union. Western Balkans is a European region where enthusiasm for the European Union is still strongly present, while expectations might sometimes be too high. However, there is still much to do and many reforms will have to be implemented. The question of when and if these states will become members of the European Union is not significantly relevant. However, they do need the mentioned prospect because it is the only thing pushing them to modernise themselves and implement reforms. As a matter of fact, the European Union is one of the rare things that brings Western Balkans states together. The possibility of joining the EU must remain open because these states could very easily turn back to nationalism. And what were the consequences of nationalism in this part of Europe in the past is well known.

The exit of one of the Member States from the European Union also affected the summit of the Western Balkans countries, which took place in Paris on Monday. Besides the six states from the region, the event was also attended by leaders from six EU Member States. According to Slovenian Prime Minister Cerar, the bilateral meeting between the Slovenian Prime Minister and French President Hollande can be seen as recognition of Slovenia’s efforts within the Brdo Process and an opportunity to strengthen ties in terms of Europe's future after a possible exit of the United Kingdom.

The stability and peace in the Balkans is not only in Slovenia's strategic interest, but is in fact vital for its very existence. Any destabilisation of the Balkans would have direct economic, political, security and other impacts on Slovenia. “We should be aware that the Western Balkans is a delicate area and some of the relationships there are fragile, which is why it is even more important to encourage dialogue among the Western Balkans states as well as their dialogue with the European Union,” pointed out the Slovenian Prime Minister.


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