Juncker urges EU to integrate Balkan states

In his third annual state of the EU address, European Commission chief Jean Claude Juncker called for the immediate integration of Bulgaria and Romania into Europe’s passport-free Schengen area, Balkan Insight reports. On EU enlargement, Juncker said there will still be no new countries joining the union during the current term of his commission, which extends until 2019. But thereafter, the EU will grow in size, Juncker said.

As it stands now, Montenegro and Serbia have begun accession talks, while Macedonia and Albania are candidate countries and Bosnia and Kosovo are potential candidates. Turkey, also technically engaged in membership talks, has been taking giant strides away from the EU and needs to let journalists out of prisons and stop calling European leaders Nazis, Juncker said.

On the issue of Brexit, Juncker anticipates the UK leaving the EU on March 30, 2019. Juncker called for their to be a special EU summit on that date in Romania, which will then hold the European Council presidency.

 

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