‘The Future of EU - a Look from the Western Balkans’ conference in Vienna: EU membership prospect is the key driver for transformation in the region

Photo: twitter.com/Gernot Bluemel

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Austria organized a conference titled ‘The Future of EU - a Look from the Western Balkans’, which gathered region’s ministers of foreign and European affairs in Vienna on Thursday. 

The event was hosted by the Austrian Federal Chancellery for the EU, Arts, Culture and Media, and Federal Minister Gernot Bluemel, who said during the conference that the EU would be completed only when the entire Western Balkans becomes a part of the Union.

Attendees discussed challenges ahead of the European Union in 2019, including Brexit and elections for the European Parliament.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina Igor Crnadak addressed participants, saying that despite being in the middle of intra-party negotiations and formation of authorities, the country has managed to finalize answers to the follow-up questions from the European Commission’s Questionnaire - which clearly shows that there is strong consensus about the EU future of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Conference Austria Crnadak 3

Crnadak called on the EU to intensify its presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina and other countries in the region, in order for the people in the region to have a better understanding of the membership benefits.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina voiced his hope that the county will be officially granted the status of candidate for membership in the EU by the end of 2019.

Conference Austria Crnadak 4

Romanian Secretary of State Alexandru Victor Micula said that the meeting was a chance to discuss joint challenges for European countries and the Western Balkans. He added that from the perspective of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the goal was to keep the Western Balkans on the agenda.