TIRANA, August 20
German Chancellor Angela Merkel reaffirmed the strong restatement of Berlin’s commitment to EU enlargement while speaking on Monday on an event in the Hungarian town of Sopron, as reported by politico.eu.
Europe will only be truly united when all the countries of the Western Balkans join the EU, Merkel said while attending the events held on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of Pan-European Picnic.
“If you look at things geostrategically and also look at the map then there will only be a truly united Europe with the states of the Western Balkans,” politico.eu quoted Merkel as saying to the reporters on Monday.
The Western Balkan states Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia are not members of the European Union.
Except for BiH and Kosovo that are respectively recognized as applican t and potential candidate, the four other countries are official candidate countries for EU membership, with Montenegro and Serbia already involved in membership talks. Kosovan citizens still need a visa to travel to the EU and other countries in the Schengen zone.
The topic of borders and free movement was in focus as the leaders of Hungary and Germany met on the anniversary of the Pan-European Picnic. Merkel said that the events at the picnic reflected the values of solidarity, freedom and a humane Europe.
On 19 August 1989, the border between Hungary and Austria was opened for a few hours for a pan-European picnic. More than 600 East Germans who were holidaying in Hungary used the opportunity to break through to Austria as border guards stood aside. The event was among the first cracks in the Iron curtain and it helped lead to the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989.
Photo Credit: wikipedia