En­cour­age­ment but no prom­ises for Balkan group mem­ber­ship

The Washington Times Daily - - WORLD -

SOFIA, BUL­GARIA | Euro­pean Union lead­ers on Thurs­day en­cour­aged Balkan coun­tries to con­tinue on the path of EU-ori­ented re­form but were cool on any of the six join­ing the bloc in the near fu­ture.

The Balkans spi­raled into con­flict in the 1990s as the for­mer Yu­goslavia broke apart and eth­nic and na­tion­al­ist ten­sions con­tinue to sim­mer more than 20 years on. Yet the prospect of ac­ces­sion to the EU has been a pow­er­ful driver of demo­cratic re­form in Al­ba­nia, Bos­nia and Herze­gov­ina, Mace­do­nia, Mon­tene­gro, Ser­bia and its for­mer ter­ri­tory of Kosovo.

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