European Commission – Borders in the Western Balkans should not be existential

BRUSSELS – Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission and the European Commissioner for the portfolio of Better Regulation, Inter-Institutional Relations, Rule of Law and Charter of Fundamental Rights, said that borders in the Western Balkans should not be existential.

Frans Timmermans © European Union , 2017 / Source: EC – Audiovisual Service / Photo: François Walschaerts

During a press conference at the GMF’s Brussels Forum, Timmermans said that in order to to avoid a future conflict in the Western Balkans it is needed to make sure that borders in the Western Balkans are no longer existential.

“They can be essential, they can be important, they can be relatively important, they can be unimportant, but today they are to existential. If they remain existential given the composition of the area in terms of demography and in terms of ethnicity – that the recipe for disaster in the long future,” he said.

The First Vice-President of the European Commission added that one of the beautiful elements of the European integration is that the process does not make borders disappear, they remain essential, but they are no longer existential.

“That is what has happened between France and Germany, between all the other countries after the fall of the Berlin wall, and that is what we need to do in the Western Balkans,” he added.

“I will always be passionate about continuing the process of integrating the Western Balkan states into the European Union. It will not happen during the mandate of this Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker was very clear about that, but it will happen some time in the future,” Timmermans concluded.

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