There Are Hopes that Germany’s Balkan Policy Won’t Change after Merkel

Former Foreign Minister of Montenegro Branko Lukovac has said that he did not think that Germany’s policy towards the Western Balkans will change after Merkel leaves office. He, however, said in an interview with Vijesti on Monday that Merkel’s departure will be felt and that the new Chancellor will need time to gain the respect, reputation and influence that the outgoing chancellor enjoyed both in the EU and globally.

Merkel has become very well-known in the Western Balkans as the initiator of the Berlin Process which held its annual Summit on July 5 this year as some considered it as a farewell to the legendary Chancellor.

“I believe that the new Chancellor will continue the policy of Germany’s support to the WB states in their efforts to make better and faster progress in meeting the preconditions for EU membership, but will also be an advocate of continuing and accelerating the enlargement process,” Lukovac said.

Ivo Visković, Serbian diplomat and former Ambassador to Germany, agreed that, with the new Chancellor, there will be no substantial change in Germany’s policy towards the WB.

“If the CDU / CSU remains in power, the situation will remain more or less the same. However, I am intrigued by the potential coming of the Greens to power, because their views are much more critical and demanding. If they lead foreign policy, there may be milder changes, but not essential ones,” Visković said.

Commenting on Merkel’s remarks at this year’s Berlin Process Summit, held earlier this month, Visković said that she was not wrong in assessing that multiple challenges remained.

“She used to be even fiercer - on one occasion, she said that everything in the Balkans is happening at a ‘snail’s pace’. Unfortunately, she is right. We waste time on various unnecessary things, and we do not do what is necessary, i.e. we do not adapt societies to EU requirements in an essential way,” Visković said for Vijesti, adding that he was worried about non-democratic tendencies in some EU countries, assessing that they would certainly find allies in the Balkans.

Branko Lukovac said that Merkel, in addition to saying that there is still a lot of work left for the candidate countries, at the same time showed understanding due to the slowness of the accession process. “In other words, it should be accelerated. Both by the EU and by the candidate countries,” Lukovac stressed. /