Spanish PM visits Western Balkan countries to show support for EU membership

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez visited Skopje as part of the last part of his tour of the five countries of the Western Balkans: Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania.

His trip is meant to encourage countries to continue their quest to become EU members. To this end, he congratulated the Prime Minister of North Macedonia, Dimitar Kovachevski, on the fact that negotiations on this process were recently unblocked after Bulgaria, an EU member, lifted its veto.

At a press conference during his visit, S├ínchez expressed his support, saying: “You have done the right thing, you have unblocked the road that will surely lead North Macedonia to where it belongs, which is the European Union. North Macedonia is European both geographically and historically. And now you are one step closer to your desired goal.

Earlier Sunday in Montenegro, Sanchez also assured President Milo Djukanovic that the country “has everything” to be a “great example” of EU integration in the Western Balkans.

In Bosnia, Sarajevo’s aspirations to join the EU were also supported by the Spanish Prime Minister. He urged its leaders to reduce internal tensions, engage in dialogue and push forward together the reforms needed to become a member.

Bosnia and Herzegovina is the country that is the furthest behind its application for EU membership, as it has not yet received candidate status.

All Balkan countries are at different stages of the EU accession process. However, EU officials have recently attempted to urge EU governments to push ahead with reforms amid concerns about Russia’s attempts to increase its influence in the region.

Sanchez will finish his tour of the Western Balkans in Albania on Monday. Kosovo was excluded from his trip as Spain does not recognize its independence from Serbia.