The ‘Spotlight: Balkans’ panel discussion at the 60th Munich Security Conference delved into the central themes of the Western Balkan countries’ integration into the European Union and explored possibilities for unblocking the process. President Stevo Pendarovski, in his remarks, addressed these critical issues.

The panel also included the participation of President of Montenegro Jakov Milatović, Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama, and US Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a member of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

President Pendarovski addressed the obstacle of changing the Constitution for further integration, noting that it won’t be possible until after the elections. Currently in the technical phase with the formation of a caretaker government tasked with organizing fair and democratic elections, the country is focused on this process, according to a press release from Pendarovski’s Office.

Highlighting a declining interest in the EU in the region, President Pendarovski used the Macedonian example to illustrate that despite difficult compromises, progress in EU integration has not been evident. He emphasized that the EU has not been a priority in the entire Western Balkans region for years, causing polarization among Macedonian citizens regarding the EU, not just on an ethnic basis.

The panel speakers stressed the necessity of ensuring a clear European perspective for EU candidate countries, believing it would positively impact the overall stability and prosperity of the region.

Throughout the event, there was a consensus on the crucial role of the United States in supporting European integration efforts and advancing the reform agenda in the Western Balkans region.