EU 'keen' to include Western Balkans: Juncker
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says the EU is "keen" to receive Serbia and other Western Balkans countries as members, given that they meet certain pre-conditions.
President of the European Commision Jean-Claude Juncker (L) talks during the press conference with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic (R) in Belgrade, Serbia, 26 February 2018. [Photo: IC]
Juncker has made the statement while visiting Serbia and meeting with Serbian president Aleksandar Vucic.
Juncker says relations with the Western Balkans are a priority for the EU, and that he has always thought that the EU is not complete without the region.
At the same time, Juncker has stressed that rule of law, the judiciary and bilateral relations remain the toughest challenges in the accession of the region.
Earlier in the year, the EU announced its expansion plan for the Western Balkans, and set 2025 as a perspective date for the process to be completed.
Juncker is currently on a tour of the region.
Regarding Serbia, Juncker says the country must reach a legally binding agreement with Kosovo on the normalization of their relations, before Serbia can become an EU member.
Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008.