European Council President Charles Michel told a conference in Slovenia’s Bled on Monday that the European Union must be ready to integrate new members “by 2030.”
Michel emphasized the need for a clear timetable to establish credibility. He also mentioned that the EU’s next strategic agenda must include a clear target. According to Michel, both sides must be ready for enlargement by 2030.
“It’s an ambitious but necessary goal. The statement shows the seriousness of the situation,” emphasized the President of the European Council in the conference that was attended by leaders from the Western Balkan countries.
Currently, five Western Balkan countries, including Albania, Bosnia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, have been negotiating with the EU for over a decade and are considered candidates for membership. Ukraine and Moldova are also seeking candidate status.
“The slow progress towards EU enlargement has been a disappointment to many both in the Western Balkans and within the EU,” he acknowledged. He also noted that the next EU-Western Balkans summit will coincide with the European Council on December 14-15.
“EU enlargement will be a central topic of discussion among the 27 EU leaders at their upcoming summits, during which they will decide whether to open accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova.”
In autumn, the European Commission is set to release its recommendations on the matter. Both nations were given candidate status in June 2022, just a few months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine commenced.