In his State of the Union address, in which he presented his priorities for the year ahead and outlined his vision for how the European Union could evolve by 2025, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker reconfirmed and strengthened the EU’s unequivocal support for their enlargement perspective.
“If we want more stability in our neighbourhood, then we must maintain a credible enlargement perspective for the Western Balkans. It is clear that there will be no further enlargement during the mandate of this Commission and this Parliament. No candidate is ready yet. But thereafter the European Union will be greater than 27 in number. Accession candidates must give the rule of law, justice and fundamental rights utmost priority,” said President Juncker.
In the Letter of Intent sent to the President of the European Parliament Tajani and Estonian Prime Minister Ratas (currently hosting the Presidency of the Council of the EU), President Juncker expressed his intention to launch “a Strategy for a successful EU accession of Serbia and Montenegro as frontrunner candidates in the Western Balkans” with a 2025 perspective, as one of the initiatives to make the Union a stronger global actor. The Strategy should have a “particular emphasis on the rule of law, fundamental rights and the fight against corruption and on the overall stability of the region”.