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Last Updated:[06-07-2010 07:40:13 EDT] Zoom in Zoom out Back to Tradenews

EU Prez Tours West Balkans to Assuage Fears on EU Accession

tradenews The European Union President Herman Van Rompuy has made a whirlwind trip to the Western Balkan states starting from Slovenia through Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo to demonstrate the Union's commitment for expansion. The EU head's visit to the countries that emerged after the sanguinary break-up of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s and Albania is interpreted as EU’s special interest on the region in trying times. Rompuy said on Monday "The Western Balkans region is a key priority for EU."

While Rompuy visited Croatia, he told that the country would become the second state from the region to enter the EU after Slovenia's inclusion in 2004. Croatia's entry to the EU seemed to be likely soon as indicated in the words of the president, he said, "Croatia's joining the EU will give a positive signal to the region by proving that the accession to the EU is attainable."

Incidentally, Croatia's EU accession negotiations started five years ago, and only after Rompuy assumed office in December 2009 they gained some steam. However, the Daily Delo, a leading Slovenian newspaper has questioned the president's earnestness of the integration of the region to the EU zone.

On the contrary, while Rompuy visited Belgrade the Serbian President Boris Tadic expressed dissatisfaction with the decelerated process of the EU integration as he felt it was crucial for the future of the West Balkans. The Serbian business community has often complained about the problems they faced without the ticket to the EU despite they produced low cost quality goods.

Rompuy reiterated that progress in European integration primarily depended on each candidate's own merit and performance. Nonetheless, it has to be seen whether the merit mantra would alone work as an expansion model to the EU as it may also rely on solving the ongoing financial crisis which quaked the EU after showing signs of recovery from the global meltdown.

By Jose Roy

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