Feature photo: Map of the Western Balkans | © Shutterstock
30 years ago the Siege of Sarajevo began and the conflicts in the Western Balkans culminated in years of war with unimaginable atrocities. More than 100.000 people lost their lives in this war and millions lost their homes. Unfortunately, we are still far too little interested in what is happening right on Europe's doorstep. The situation always comes into focus when it is far too late. Putin's war of aggression in recent months has shown us this with all its might and cruelty. For the Western Balkans, we need to focus on two issues. On the one hand, we have to strengthen the democratic forces and show the nationalists their limits. Nationalists, unlike democrats, are bound to drive us to war sooner or later. That is why our motto for further development in the Western Balkans must be "democracy instead of stabilocracy". The free democratic world in particular must now actively show solidarity with democratic forces in the Western Balkans. There must be no bargaining with the nationalists for our basic democratic values; instead, the democratic forces must be actively strengthened.
On the other hand, we need real EU accession prospects for all countries in the Western Balkans. We kept people quiet for many years with a promise to join. We must finally follow up on this promise with deeds. Young people in particular need an alternative away from nationalism, so that Putin's war of aggression does not become a conflagration and they finally see a perspective for themselves without having to leave the region. These young people rightly see their future in a democratic state within the European Union. Real accession negotiations would also implement new political criteria for the people in the Western Balkans, as the EU accession process in Croatia has already clearly shown, and would take away the nationalists' sovereignty of interpretation. Together with the democratic forces, we must show the way to a real democracy and support EU accession with all our might! Security in the Western Balkans also guarantees our own security!
Now is the time for more Europe! If proof was needed, we got it in the last few weeks. I am particularly pleased to be able to deepen this topic on July 24, 2022 at the European Breakfast with the EUROPA-UNION Heilbronn.
addition of Heinrich Kuemmerle:
Josip Juratovic MdB was re-elected Deputy Chairman of the EUROPA-UNION parliamentary group in the German Bundestag last week, which shows that his non-partisan commitment to our European idea is also valued and recognized by many parliamentarians from all democratic parliamentary groups in the Bundestag.