Earlier this month, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy traveled to Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo to discuss EU enlargement in the Western Balkans. On 1 July, Croatia became the latest country to join the EU and, despite continuing problems of record-high EU unemployment and a struggling economy, membership talks for Serbia will begin at the latest by January 2014. The breakthrough for Serbia came following a historic agreement in April with its former province, Kosovo, to normalise diplomatic relations between the two neighbours.
As part of our series of debates with President Van Rompuy, we took some of your questions to him during his trip. We started with a question from John Patrick from Austria, who wanted to know if the recent accession of Croatia to the EU will persuade other countries to embark on democratic reforms:
Next, we took a question from Marta, a student from Serbia, who wanted to know when her country could expect to join the European Union.
Finally, we had a comment from Besnik, who believes that all Balkan countries, including Kosovo, should join the EU as soon as possible. He argues that this would help stabilise the region and provide economic benefits to all sides. How would Herman Van Rompuy respond?