Today, the focus is on the integration of the six countries in South-Eastern Europe that are not yet EU members. In its latest reports on enlargement, the EU Commission rightly states that the admission of Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia to the EU is a „geostrategic investment in peace, security and economic growth throughout Europe“.
You have to respect a Habsburg going early to the Balkans. It is what it is for Europe, and at some point needs to be resolved to the advantage of all.
The geostrategic importance of the region is clear to anyone familiar with its history. And in politics there is no vacuum . If Europe withdraws from the region, there will be all the more room for other powers to advance their interests in Southeast Europe.
In addition to actors like Russia and Turkey who have been connected to the region and its politics throughout history, today above all China but also Saudi Arabia for instance with its Wahabism exert massive influence. The interests of these actors do not coincide with European security policy interests.
Yes, he names names. Absolutely solid. I also greatly respect his acknowledgement of the historic and modern threat to Europe from fundamentalist Islamic forces.
But we must also look to the East, where a country like Ukraine with the Euromaidan or the so-called Revolution of Dignity has made it clear that its citizens see their future in Europe rather than under Russian dominance. Undoubtedly there still are major problems in all these countries regarding, for instance, the rule of law and corruption, but they are European countries nevertheless. Anyone who takes European unification seriously must make it possible for every European country to join the European Union. That is why I also advocate upgrading the current neighbourhood policy towards Ukraine into a concrete accession perspective policy.
Even though the European perspective is of no real relevance in the democracy movement in Belarus, it is our duty to support this democracy movement wherever possible. If Europe, if the EU emphasises the rule of law and democracy the way it does, these principles must also apply towards Belarus.