EU enlargement to Western Balkans a geopolitical priority with new methodology: Commissioner

With the announcement of a new methodology for the accession process, European Union (EU) enlargement to the Western Balkans has became a geopolitical priority, said Oliver Varhelyi, Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement, after meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic on Thursday.

According to a press release from the president’s office, Vucic met Varhelyi “to discuss the continuation of European integration and the new methodology of the EU accession process” which was adopted by the European Commission a day before.

At a joint press conference after the meeting, Varhelyi stressed that his goal is to have at least one country in the Western Balkans ready to enter the EU during his mandate.

“I want to strengthen …our connections with countries in the Balkans, especially those already in the process of accession negotiations, because there is progress, and I want to accelerate it, working together with Serbia,” he said.

Vucic noted that “Serbia, as the country spearheading the negotiation process with the EU along with Montenegro, could choose whether to continue using the already negotiated framework or the new methodology,” adding that the study of the new methodology will continue.

“The final decisions will be enacted in the coming period,” he said, noting that although the new methodology is very precise and restrictive, Serbia already opened many chapters and is motivated to continue with the negotiation process.

Varhelyi also met Serbian Minister for European Integration Jadranka Joksimovic, and signed a 138.55-million-euro financing agreement within the framework of the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA) 2019, intended for projects in the areas of economy, science, rule of law and public administration.