Conference on the Developments in the BalkansMay 14th, 2011 Albania | Bosnia and Herzegovina | Croatia | Macedonia | Seminars | Serbia | The Balkans | The European Union
On May 13-14, 2011, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation organized a round-table conference with leaders from cooperation partners in the Balkans. The conference focused on the continued integration of the Balkan states into Europe as well as other aspects of the European Union.
“The Countries in the Balkans have to push for membership. The EU never invites anyone to join,” said Walburga Habsburg Douglas, MP and member of the Hjalmarson Foundation board. Her view was shared by the participants.
Göran Lennmarker, Chairman of the Hjalmarson Foundation noted that while the EU commission is a true friend: “The membership process is very intimate. This was true also for Sweden prior to our membership.” According to him, the claim that the EU would not be able to integrate the Balkan countries is complete nonsense. “The EU corresponds to about 30 percent of the world market. The Balkans would only add another one percent!”
The participants agreed that countries should not have the right to block other European countries from joining. “The membership processes has been nationalized,” a participant remarked. Others noted that support for EU membership has decreased in several Balkan states – though from high initial levels.