Visegrad foreign ministers meet West Balkan counterparts amid EU membership debate

Foreign ministers from the Visegrad Group of Eastern European states—Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic—will today meet with their

west balkans

Photo: AP/Darko Vojinovic

Foreign ministers from the Visegrad Group of Eastern European states—Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic—will today meet with their counterparts from the West Balkans.

The gathering comes in the wake of the UK’s departure from the EU, as well as the proposal of new rules by the European Commission to streamline the accession process into the bloc.

The EU member states are divided over the process and urgency of integrating Western Balkan states—such as Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia and Serbia—into the EU. Germany and Poland view Western Balkan integration as a boon to economic growth and a geopolitical necessity for limiting Russian and Chinese influence. France, on the other hand, has insisted on stricter implementation of structural reforms and democratisation before accession can occur. France vetoed the start of membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia in October 2019.

Today’s meeting will likely result in a statement of support for Western Balkan-EU accession from the Visegrad Group countries. The EU-Western Balkans summit in May of this year will further indicate the chances of an expanded EU in the wake of the UK’s departure.

Wake up smarter with an assessment of the stories that will make headlines in the next 24 hours. Download The Daily Brief.