European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says the countries of the Western Balkans should have a real prospect of membership in the European Union.
Juncker – who showed up for a press conference in Brussels on Wednesday wearing a bandaid across his cheek, apparently a shaving accident – warned that, otherwise, there is a risk of “a return to the 1990s.”
“If these countries do not become EU members, we are risking a return to the 1990s. I think that is a matter of war or peace,” Juncker told a joint press conference with Slovenian President Borut Pahor, with whom he discussed the perspective of Western Balkan countries’ membership.
He added that he would do everything to come to the meeting of the Three Seas Initiative that will be organized by the Slovenian president in early June in Ljubljana.
“I fully support this initiative,” Juncker said, who, Croatia’s Hina agency noted, took part last year as well.
He also referred to the statement by European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, who recently spoke about “Italian Istria and Dalmatia” – stating that Tajani was “right to apologize.”
Speaking about the European perspective of the Western Balkans, Pahor particularly referred to Bosnia-Herzegovina, which he said was a “sui generis” case and that one should approach it “subtly” – which does not mean, he stressed, compromising on the criteria for European integration.