The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, urged for the year 2030 to be set as the deadline by which the candidate states aiming to become part of the European Union should be accepted.
His comments came during the Bled Strategic Forum held in Bled, Slovenia, which was attended by the leaders of the Western Balkan countries.
While stressing that the war in Europe has shown that peace and democracy cannot be taken for granted, Michael said that the EU should set a clear goal in this regard.
“I believe we must talk about timing and homework. And I have a proposal. As we prepare the EU’s next strategic agenda, we must set ourselves a clear goal. I believe we must be ready — on both sides — to enlarge by 2030,” Charles said.
According to him, this means that the EU’s next long-term budget will need to include the EU’s common goals.
“This is ambitious but necessary. It shows that we are serious. It will build momentum. It will give a transformative boost to reforms, and it will generate interest, investments and better understanding and encourage us all to work together,” Michael added.
He said that the leaders of the EU will discuss the enlargement of the EU at the next European Council meetings.
“We will take a stand on the opening of negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova. And I also expect Bosnia and Herzegovina and Georgia to be back on the table,” he noted.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and fears that Russia could increase its influence in Balkan countries have led the President of the European Council to unfold such a proposal that would help the further enlargement of the bloc by 2030.
Michael said that the war is not just devastating Ukraine, but it also has a profound impact on the future of Europe and on global security. He stressed that when Russia invaded Ukraine, Russia and many others expected a weak response and a divided Europe. However, they got the opposite.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led European countries to impose sanctions on the Kremlin that have been considered among the harshest introduced in recent years.
Besides, in October last year, the EU adopted the eighth package of sanctions against Russia as a result of the illegal annexation of Ukraine’s Donetsk, Zaporizhzhia, Luhansk, and Kherson.
The Council said that the newly agreed package of sanctions included several measures intended to reinforce pressure on the Russian government economy and weaken Russia’s military capabilities, among others.