In view of the Ukraine war, influence in the Balkan region is now becoming increasingly important. Steinmeier visits North Macedonia and Albania for the first time.
Munich – The Balkan region is often referred to as the “soft underbelly” of Europe. In the background of the Ukraine war, the area is now coming more to the fore. There are fears that Russia could destabilize economic and military relations with Balkan countries. In addition, the gruesome images from Ukraine, such as in Bucha, bring back memories of the country’s own bloody wars in the 1990s.
However, one thing is certain: Russia and the West are fighting for influence in the Balkans. Amid the delicate developments, Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier will visit North Macedonia and Albania for the first time from Tuesday (November 29). This is mainly about two issues.
Steinmeier travels to North Macedonia and Albania – talks about Ukraine and the EU
According to the Office of the Federal President, the focus of the trip will be, among other things, the prospects of both countries joining the EU and the effects of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. In the North Macedonian capital of Skopje, talks with President Stevo Pendarovski and Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski and a speech by Steinmeier to parliament are planned for Tuesday.
A joint press conference between Steinmeier and Pendarovski is scheduled for 1:15 p.m. Steinmeier travels to Albania on Thursday. After years of delays, the EU opened accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia in July. However, the two Western Balkan states cannot hope for a quick admission, the talks are considered to be lengthy. (bb/AFP)
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