Scholz says Balkans joining EU is in Germany’s interest

BERLIN (AP) — Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Wednesday that it’s in the interest of Germany and Europe for the remaining countries of the Balkans to join the European Union.

Speaking to Parliament ahead of a one-day summit of the 27-nation bloc in Brussels, Scholz welcomed the revival of EU accession talks with the six Western Balkan countries in recent months, and the decision this week to grant Bosnia candidate status.

“It is in our German and our European interest for the rest of the Balkans to become part of the European Union,” he told lawmakers in Berlin.

Scholz also praised the decision to allow Croatia to join the Europe’s ID-check-free travel zone, and said Bulgaria and Romania should “follow soon.”

Austria has so far blocked the two countries’ bid to join the so-called Schengen area.

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