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Balkan states have 'clear prospect' of joining EU, says Merkel

Published on Jun 7, 2014 9:24 PM
 
Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel holds a press conference on the last day of the G7 summit at the European Council headquarters on June 5, 2014, in Brussels. Balkan countries have a "clear prospect" of joining the European Union, but the process will be long, Ms Merkel said in a podcast released Saturday. -- PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (AFP) - Balkan countries have a "clear prospect" of joining the European Union, but the process will be long, German Chancellor Angela Merkel said in a podcast released Saturday.

"We support accession. But we don't think that we have anything to gain if the criteria are not respected. And there are some very clear criteria for the steps to get closer to the EU," said Ms Merkel, who is due to meet Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic in Berlin on Wednesday.

But if the criteria and treaties are respected, "then there is clear prospect for western Balkan states" to join the EU, she said.

Aspiring EU entrants must meet key democratic benchmarks before being considered candidates to join, a process which then takes many years as the nations bring their legislation in line with the bloc.

 
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