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EU elections, analysts: Results negative warning for European integration, Kosovo-Serbia dialogue

EU elections, analysts: Results negative warning for European integration,

The elections for the European Parliament, which highlighted an increased influence of right-wing parties in Europe, according to analysts interviewed by the Voice of America, are not a good warning for the European integration process of the Western Balkan countries and for the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.

The professor of political science at the University of Rome Federiga Bindi and the analyst of the European Council for Foreign Relations, Maria Simoenova told the journalist Garentina Kraja that the elections revealed a gloomy picture in Europe under the shadow of the war in Ukraine, which according to them will continue to remain the main concern of the European bloc, which is currently facing a financial crisis and the incited anti-immigration rhetoric.

The Western Balkans will be the main loser of the new political reality in Europe, emerging from the European parliamentary elections according to analysts.

The European elections, which were held from June 6 to 9, saw a marked increase in right-wing parties, although the main pro-European parties maintained their lead.

Analysts estimate that one of the first impacts is expected to be on the enlargement policy.

The professor of political science at the University of Rome and the University of Boulder in Colorado, Federiga Bindi, says that the integration of the Western Balkans has not been a priority of the European Union's policies for almost a decade and that this European orientation, which she calls "short-sighted", will continue to accompany the region during the next five years of the mandate of the 720 new members of the European Parliament.

"The countries of the Western Balkans are the big losers in this whole situation, especially because of the war in Ukraine. The European Union's efforts to integrate them have diminished... During the last eight years, there is no more talk about the Balkans, although there is enough evidence that the EU can bring about change in this region. The influence of the EU is visible not only in Slovenia and Croatia, but also in other parts of the Western Balkans, in Bosnia or Albania and in other countries, it can be seen how much effort these countries have made to become member of the EU and the fact that the European Union does not respond and gives priority to other countries, such as Ukraine, is frankly unfair and also short-sighted... Europeans are completely confused by Ukraine and have lost perspective on everything else ".

The expert of the European Council on Foreign Relations, Maria Simeonova, says that although right-wing parties increased their presence in all 27 states of the European Union, the results in France and Germany were the most shocking, shaking the position of the leaders of the two main states of the bloc. , who had a greater commitment to the Balkans.

"France and Germany are major players in the region and as the two largest member states, they play an essential role in the processes in the Balkans, in particular in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in the dialogue process between Kosovo and Serbia... Therefore, there will be negative effect on the new initiatives for the Western Balkans, since President Macron and Chancellor Scholz have weakened a lot in their countries".

Analyst Simeonova says that the results of the elections will also "complicate the process of enlargement" of the European Union with the states of the region and the weakening of efforts to engage with Kosovo and Serbia to advance the normalization process.

"It will be more difficult for the European Union, taking into account the election results, to reach a consensus on enlargement. This does not necessarily mean that there will be no political will, or that concrete steps will not be taken. But I think that the greater presence of right-wing parties in the parliament enables them to restrain some of the boldest initiatives that should be made in relation to the Western Balkans".

Professor Bindi says that the lack of attention of the European Union has left behind a fragile situation, including in the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia, where the bloc has a weighty role as a mediating party to reach a normalization agreement between the two countries, which according to her, was left behind because of the war in Ukraine.

"What will the European Union be able to offer these countries to achieve peace? When (former EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine) Ashton negotiated the deal, we had something to offer, but now it is clear that membership is a long-term goal. We have nothing to offer and this situation does not help".

Mrs. Bindi says that the lack of attention of the EU and the United States in the Western Balkans has created space for other powers in the region.

"Foreign policy is like physics. When there is a void, it tends to fill. There are regional and international actors who are interested in filling this gap. Russia with the entire Serbian side, China is everywhere, then Turkey among the Muslims and the Gulf states, which have invested in Bosnia and Albania. Therefore (the EU) is losing the opportunity in its own backyard, in a region that needs to be taken care of more".

Analysts say that the American presidential elections, held in November, will have a special role in the dynamics of developments in the region in the coming months, which, according to them, can also determine the speed of actions of European leaders in the Western Balkans. VOA



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