Juncker Indicated 2025 as a Possible Date for the Western Balkans to Join the EU
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in Tirana that 2025 is the possible date of EU accession for all Western Balkan candidate countries if they meet the membership criteria, Reuters reported.
"Contrary to what we read everywhere, the Commission and I have not said that Serbia and Montenegro will necessarily become members of the EU in 2025," Juncker told reporters in the Albanian capital, where he arrived from Macedonia.
"2025 is the date open to all candidate countries," he added.
"And depending on the extent to which a candidate country has fulfilled all the membership criteria sooner or later, we will proceed so that its efforts are recognized by the EU," Juncker said at a joint press conference with the Albanian prime minister Eddie Rama.
The President of the European Commission pointed out that Albania has achieved "impressive progress" in the reform of the judiciary and administration, and the fight against crime, the Associated Press reported.
But the country's leadership needs to resolve all major border disputes with neighbors, preferably before the EC finalizes the assessment of the progress of the Western Balkan countries towards EU membership, Juncker said. The assessment is expected to be released in April.
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