Official visit to Western Balkans
We want you to move towards membership. But for that, all political actors need to do their part.
After the meeting with the Prime Minister of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Mr Nikola Gruevski, President Barroso said that "the EU's commitment to your European future remains very firm". In light of this, President Barroso and Prime Minister Gruevski agreed on two concrete steps: "the establishment of a High-Level Accession Dialogue, which would take place twice a year, to speed up the implementation of needed reforms, and an Economic Policy Conference that addresses strategic challenges".
After meeting the Prime Minister of Montenegro Igor Lukšić, President Barroso said that he is "pleased with the commitment and the efforts demonstrated", and stressed: "The key now is implementation. Strong leadership and ownership are needed to address the priorities, in particular those related to the rule of law." He finished by expressing confidence that "Montenegro will soon be able to take its rightful place within the European family."
"Bosnia and Herzegovina is a part of the European family and has a European future."
Following the meeting with the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina, President Barroso stated: "Bosnia and Herzegovina wants to become a member of the European Union. Bosnia and Herzegovina is a part of the European family and has a European future. The EU is ready to help you through its reinforced presence and policies, and substantial aid. But Bosnia and Herzegovina has to do its own part."
"Now is the time for Croatia to walk the final mile!"
In Croatia, President Barroso met with Prime Minister Ms Jadranka Kosor. The President said that "The European Commission is looking forward to welcoming Croatia as the 28th EU Member State as soon as possible". He encouraged Croatia to "tackle the last difficult reforms before the accession process can be concluded". "Now is the time for Croatia to walk the final mile!" Barroso added.
"The countries of South Eastern Europe belong in the European Union."
During his visit from 7 - 9 April, President Barroso will meet with the leaders of Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the FYROM, as well as civil society representatives. He said: "The countries of South Eastern Europe belong in the European Union. It is for the countries themselves to determine the pace of their European future. I will encourage the leaders in the region to accelerate the reforms and tackle the challenges and conditions with renewed vigour. Now is the time to deliver."