Western Balkans-EU.

Kathimerini English - - Focus -

dow due to stalled bailout talks between the govern­ment and its of­fi­cial cred­i­tors. Their de­pen­dence on the ELA emer­gency life­line has de­clined since June last year when the Euro­pean Cen­tral Bank re­in­stated banks’ ac­cess to its cheap fund­ing op­er­a­tions.

The Viseg­rad coun­tries, namely Poland, the Czech Repub­lic, Hun­gary and Slo­vakia, have taken a strong stance in fa­vor of Western Balkan states join­ing the Euro­pean Union fol­low­ing a meet­ing of for­eign min­is­ters in Bu­dapest on Wed­nes­day. The ac­cel­er­a­tion of the Western Balkan re­gion’s Euro-At­lantic in­te­gra­tion is a se­cu­rity and eco­nomic in­ter­est for all of Europe, said Hun­gar­ian Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade Peter Sz­i­j­jarto. He em­pha­sized the in­te­gra­tion of the Western Balkans was best sup­ported by Cen­tral Euro­pean and South­east­ern Euro­pean coun­tries be­cause they lived “here in the neigh­bor­hood.” “Guar­an­tee­ing the se­cu­rity of the Western Balkans is ac­cel­er­at­ing the EU and NATO ac­ces­sion pro­cesses,” he un­der­lined. He said if a new wave of mi­gra­tion started from the south, it could only be stop­pable by sta­ble and strong Western Balkans coun­tries. But if the Western Balkans were un­sta­ble, he said a wave of mi­gra­tion would “come to the south­ern edge of Hun­gary in no time.” “The se­cu­rity and in­te­gra­tion of the Western Balkans would be the pri­or­ity of the Bul­gar­ian EU Pres­i­dency in the first se­mes­ter of 2018,” Bul­gar­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Eka­te­rina Za­harieva an­nounced. “If the Western Balkan states are not part of the EU, the Euro­pean project will not be com­pleted,” she warned.

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