04.07.2021 – 13:08
On Monday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will hold talks for the last time with the prime ministers of the Western Balkan countries as part of the Berlin Process. The first conference was held in 2014 and was considered one of the most important initiatives of the Chancellor in foreign policy.
A process that arose due to many blockades and reservations towards EU enlargement with the Balkan countries, so they had to be kept on the European path despite the resistance of some member states.
Since 2014, conferences of the same format have been held every year, with representatives of 6 Western Balkan countries, the European Commission and representatives of several member states.
After 7 years it can be said that there is not much progress, so even this conference is not expected to bring any tangible results, but to reproduce itself and to declare again the support for the European path of the 7 Western Balkan countries.
Senior CDU / CSU officials have stated that “The format in which the chancellor’s legacy will continue after her ouster this fall will be finally announced after Merkel’s meeting with her counterparts, but the message that will emerge from this meeting is clear: “It will re-emphasize the perspective of the Western Balkans in the EU and will confirm the continuation of the Berlin Process.”
Experts say that in the Balkans this process does not have a good image, and many even consider it just an opportunity for regional leaders to meet with European Union leaders. While in the daily life of citizens the tangible result has been the abolition of ‘roaming’ tariffs from 1 July.
For the organizers, this process has brought more. They estimate that “transport and energy infrastructure has expanded in the last seven years and is connected to the EU corridors. “While the creation of the Regional Youth Office, which has united the youth of the region, is a future-oriented development.”
Meanwhile, there are no results in terms of the common regional market, which aims at the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. A year ago, a conference on the process was held in Sofia, and Chancellor Merkel called for reconciliation between Bulgaria and northern Macedonia, which did not happen. At Monday’s meeting, the message is expected to be the same: Agree, this time it goes to Kosovo and Serbia.