Austrian President: Western Balkan countries need courage and vision to be part of EU

Austrian president on Thursday said Serbia has a key role in the stability and security of the Western Balkans as well as in the European Union membership.

Speaking at the 8th Belgrade Security Forum held in the Serbian capital, President Alexander Van der Bellen said the Western Balkan countries need courage and vision to be part of the EU.

President Bellen said the countries of the region have undergone major economic and political changes, adding they need to find solutions to their problems before joining the EU.

“Countries that are on their way to becoming an EU member should take many steps. I hope accession to EU continues to exist as their goal,” said Bellen.

Speaking at the panel, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić stressed the EU should strengthen its influence in the region, otherwise, it would move away from the dream of democracy and freedom.

Vučić said peace and security over the next 20 years could not be maintained if important steps are not taken in the Western Balkans.

He said Serbia will take firm steps towards its EU membership but they have disagreements with the U.S. over Kosovo.

The Belgrade Security Forum will conclude on Friday.