MOUNT JAHORINA, Bosnia (Reuters) – Brief-sighted anti-immigrant populism in some European Union member states has blocked the mixing of Western Balkan international locations into the EU, weakening the area’s stability, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan mentioned on Tuesday.
FILE PHOTO: Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan holds a information convention on the ultimate day of the G20 leaders summit in Osaka, Japan June 29, 2019. REUTERS/Jorge Silva/File Photograph
He was talking at a 12-nation Balkans summit the place leaders voiced deep disappointment with the EU’s lack of follow-through on guarantees to open membership talks with North Macedonia and Albania, opposed by northern EU international locations.
In June, EU governments unexpectedly delay a choice to begin the talks with the 2 and forged doubt on the bloc’s present technique to counter a rising Russian and Chinese language presence within the Balkans.
Erdogan and different audio system on the Balkans gathering held close to the Bosnian capital Sarajevo criticized the EU over its reluctance to pursue additional enlargement of the bloc.
“Not too long ago we’ve seen that some short-sighted populist circles have blocked EU enlargement coverage. Adverse developments towards division and discrimination have unfold throughout the continent and endanger not solely inside peace inside the EU however…hope and potential of the (Balkans) area.”
The EU’s urge for food for additional enlargement has been eroded by anti-immigration sentiment amongst voters and by elevated criticism of the 28-nation bloc’s already advanced and lumbering decision-making processes.
France and the Netherlands, with assist from Denmark, additionally might search additional situations comparable to extra reform to deal with corruption and arranged crime in Albania and Macedonia.
Turkey’s personal bid for EU membership, launched again in 2004, has been stalled for years, with EU officers citing Ankara’s disregard for human rights and civil liberties beneath Erdogan. Some EU leaders need the talks to be scrapped. Erdogan has blamed alleged prejudice in opposition to Muslims for the deadlock.
Montenegro President Milo Djukanovic referred to as on different Western Balkan leaders to give you a transparent, frequent method relating to expectations for relations with the EU.
“We’re involved about enlargement coverage being slowed down and being made imprecise,” Djukanovic mentioned, including that different international locations of the area had additionally obtained discouraging alerts relating to the EU accession course of.
He mentioned the EU had didn’t abolish visa necessities for Kosovo residents or approve the opening of the final chapter in Montenegro’s accession course of, whereas suspending the approval of Bosnia’s candidate standing for later this yr.
“I consider the difficulty of an actual enlargement perspective should be opened very quickly – whether or not we, the international locations of the Western Balkans and the EU, are privileged companions or we’re going again to the place of neighbors who (merely) share concern about the way forward for our frequent continent,” he mentioned.
Western Balkans states that comprised the previous Yugoslavia had been wracked by ethnic struggle within the 1990s, and tensions linger.
Erdogan additionally paid respect to victims of the 1995 genocide in Srebrenica, laying flowers on vans bearing the coffins of 33 among the many eight,000 Muslim males and boys massacred by Bosnian Serb forces. The stays, which had been exhumed from mass graves, will likely be reburied in a ceremony on July 11, the bloodbath anniversary.
Extra reporting by Maja Zuvela in Sarajevo; Enhancing by Mark Heinrich