Berlin – ESI at discussion on the Western Balkans and Russia

7 April 2022
Sarajevo. Photo: Clark & Kim Kays / flickr

ESI’s Gerald Knaus was invited to give a presentation on the Western Balkans and Russia for the Working Party on the Western Balkans Region (COWEB) organised by the Council of the European Union.

In his presentation, Gerald spoke about EU-Western Balkans relations in the context of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. The focus of his presentation was on ESI’s proposal for the Western Balkans and the urgent need to integrate democracies in the Western Balkans and Central Europe into the European Economic Community since the current EU strategy in the Balkans is not working.

In addition, Gerald stated that an accession process Western Balkan countries no longer find credible is not an incentive for the deep reforms needed. He stressed that the fear of armed conflict is back in Balkans, especially with the current Russian invasion of Ukraine and that communal violence through Russian provocations must be avoided, making armed conflict unthinkable again.

Towards the end of his presentation, Gerald said that the EU must respond to Ukraine’s application with serious offer now and not in 3, 5, 10 years.