Germany Hosts Balkan Development Meeting
Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer told representatives of more than 30 countries and non-governmental organizations in Bonn on May 27 that his proposed "Balkan stabilization pact" must include realistic prospects for EU membership for Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Yugoslavia and Albania, the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" reported. He added, however, that the process will take years and does not mean that the five countries will receive easy terms for membership.
The stability pact will also include Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovenia. (Ljubljana stresses that its role will be as a donor of aid, investment and advice, not as a recipient.) The pact's aim is to promote a regional approach to political and economic development and to security issues. This is the first time in history that anyone has attempted to conceive such a program for the entire region. Much work remains to be done in drawing up the basic plan. Fischer has stressed that the plan will require a very long-term and serious commitment on the part of its sponsors.
On May 26 in Brussels, EU Commissioner Hans van den Broek said that Balkan regional cooperation is an essential means to prevent future conflicts there. He stressed that the EU will offer long-term development assistance to Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Macedonia, and Yugoslavia, the "Berliner Zeitung" reported. (Patrick Moore)
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