US would speed up Western Balkans EU integration processReading Time: < 1 minutes
The US administration of president Joe Biden is hoping the integration of the Western Balkan countries in the the EU can speed up from its snail-like pace – and Washington will push to reinvigorate the process, a senior US State Department official has said.
Gabriel Escobar, the recently named acting deputy secretary of state for South-Central Europe expressed frustration at the lack of movement on EU accession for Balkan states over the past 20 years. Speaking to Radio Free Europe, he said: “To return 20 years later and see that there hasn’t been much progress on that front was a little disappointing… We would like to see a more rapid integration.”
After having had 13 countries join the Union between 2004 and 2013 – the last time being Croatia – the EU appears to have lost the political will and there’s little public enthusiasm for further rapid expansion.
Currently, six Western Balkan nations are in talks with Brussels at a high level, with Serbia at the most advanced stage among them. North Macedonia, Albania, Serbia, Kosovo, Montenegro, and Bosnia-Herzegovina are all also seeking to become full members of the European Union.