Sunday, February 4, 2018

EU Reportedly Seeks to Expand Into Balkans to Counter Russian Influence

 Tourists reflected in a EU logo

© Sputnik/ Alexey Vitvitsky

The European Union reportedly intends to include six countries into its fold in a bid deal with several major issues the organization is currently facing.

Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the self-proclaimed Kosovo republic are about to be offered EU membership, according to the Financial Times.

According to the newspaper, Brussels intends to make this move because the Balkans serve as a gateway for thousands of migrants seeking to enter Europe

Also, the newspaper claims that EU strategists "fear that Russia is expanding influence in a region where it has traditional allies" as "Moscow has started to play on growing cynicism over the EU’s membership promises by touting itself as an alternative partner."

"A significant number of citizens of the region believe they will never join the EU," Florian Bieber, a south-east Europe specialist at the university of Graz, said.

The new EU enlargement plan is expected to be adopted by the European Commission on Tuesday, February 6.

Madrid however has already declared that Kosovo should be excluded from this plan, as Spain, along with Cyprus, Greece, Romania, and Slovakia, does not recognize it as a sovereign country.

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