Europe Day: Clear enlargement perspective only for those committed to EU values
Brussels (8th May) - On the occasion of the Europe Day, Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle addressed the citizens of the countries of the Western Balkans and their European ambitions. He stressed that there is a clear perspective of European integration to all the countries in the region but it requires true determination and efforts to work on introducing European standards and values.
today is an important day for Europe – Europe Day – time to remind ourselves what the European project is about and what it takes to be a part of it. More than 60 years ago Robert Schuman formulated his vision of an ever closer Union of European nations. And even today we are moving this idea forward. Croatia will soon become the 28th Member and the 'Western Balkans waiting room' is still far from empty. This shows that Schuman's vision continues to inspire, and to strengthen Europe's stability and progress.
Croatia's entry adds new momentum to the enlargement of the European Union. It sends a powerful signal to the whole region about what you can achieve when you make the necessary efforts. There are encouraging results in some other parts of the Western Balkans: Serbia and Kosovo have recently struck a historic deal, and Montenegro is moving forward in the accession process.
The perspective of European integration remains open to all the countries in the region, but it is not a free ride. It requires true determination and efforts. It requires leaders to think and to act in European way. Membership of the European Union is a real perspective - but only for those who are truly interested in embracing the European Union's principles.
This is the way forward for the whole region. European integration is about building a common, more stable and more prosperous European future. This is what the citizens across the Western Balkans deserve. And I wish you and your countries all the best in these European efforts."