French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and foreign policy chief of the Union, Federica Mogherini, held a meeting in Paris with leaders of the Balkan countries Monday in which they affirmed their determination to move forward in the accession negotiations.
“Britain’s decision has not changed anything,” said the German chancellor of the leaders of Kosovo, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Macedonia and Serbia, all countries that suffered from both wars and unrest in the 1990s.
As for the French President, he told reporters, “I would like to assure these countries that the accession process will continue.”
It is noteworthy that the six countries ranged in the stages reached in the process of joining the union, while Serbia hopes to finish accession negotiations in 2019, both Slovenia and Croatia already have membership in the union.
The leaders of the Balkan countries told reporters in Paris that the negotiations should continue, and that they were not afraid that the exit of Britain might hinder its progress.
“We in the Balkans have nothing to fear,” said Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, expressing his hope that the outcome of the British referendum would convince the European Union leaders “of the need for more Europe, not less.”
It is noteworthy that the level of support enjoyed by the European Union in Kosovo and Albania is 80 and 90 percent.
But it is somewhat different in Serbia, whose Prime Minister Alexander Vucic said, “We do not have a servant relationship with the union, but it is nevertheless the best place for the future of our peoples and countries.”
For his part, Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Bobowski regretted Britain’s decision to leave the European Union, saying, “We lost an ally who strongly supported the idea of enlarging the European Union, but the idea of enlargement should not be affected by the exit of the British.”