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Security Challenges in the Balkans Region international conference: Russia wants to further destabilise Balkan area

June 20, 2024

Accelerating the process of European integration is the solution for security in the Balkans, and the European Union must give a signal that the enlargement process is continuing, George Scutaru, executive director of the New Strategy Center Romania, said Friday in Timisoara at the 8th edition of the Security Challenges in the Balkans Region international conference, organised by the West University of Timisoara."We must not leave a wide room for manoeuvre to Russia, which wants to further influence and destabilise the region. We currently have a point of instability; there are countries like Montenegro, which meets all the conditions (for membership); Albania, to a large extent, could be invited. There is a need for political will, which is not very evident at the moment. We need to give a signal that this enlargement process is continuing. We also need Serbia, the Danube is important for us; we cannot let the Danube be interrupted at some point by a state that is not part of the European family," explained George Scutaru.The politician pointed out that we are facing a major security challenge for Europe, the war in Ukraine, which also affects what is happening in the Balkans, which, together with the Black Sea, are a very close area and represent a common security space."Unfortunately, the Balkans remain a fragile, unstable area, the European course is uncertain for the countries of the Western Balkans, which leaves quite a wide room for manoeuvre to the Russian Federation, which does not have as much economic presence as the Church uses in some countries, historical tradition, Slavic background and connections created over a long period. Russia has a negative influence on the area, it can create points of instability to divert attention from what is happening in Ukraine. If Ukraine fails to resist, we will see the Russians on the Danube or even the Prut, and Moldova's security is vital to Romania's security interest," Scutaru detailed."The European Union and NATO are working together to help the Balkan countries face this threat (...) I believe that Romania is solid proof both of the advantages and of how we have been able to assume the responsibility of EU membership. It is important to underline why the enlargement process has become a geopolitical imperative for the EU, because the power and role of enlargement to promote security, stability and prosperity depend entirely on the fulfilment of the conditions and commitments undertaken during the accession process, which must remain merit-based. For Romania, this is a matter of national interest, to have security and stability both in Eastern Europe, which includes the wider Black Sea region, and in the Western Balkans," said Ana Cristina Tinca, secretary of state for Strategic Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.The European Commission told EU ambassadors on Friday that Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova have met the conditions to start accession negotiations with the European Union."We consider that all the steps have been fulfilled by the two countries," a Commission spokeswoman said on Friday. "Now the decision is in the hands of the member states," she said, quoted by DPA.The conference in Timisoara was also attended by diplomats from France and Turkey.

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