Two years ago, when tension was at its peak due to the Iraqi war, the European leaders gathered in Thessalonica decided to keep working on the European consolidation and integration. They published a special Declaration in which they reaffirmed the European future of the Balkans.
Once again, the Union needs to be guided. In times in which the populations of two of its founders have firmly rejected the European Constitutional Treaty (ECT) we must keep in mind that 20 million Europeans expect we do our part as their guide and that of their children. They all wonder if one day they will be part of Europe or if they will live in a sort of a “nobody’s land”; a policy their neighbors are questioning. They need a solid and credible message not coming from Brussels but from the standards of the European democracies. They must be told that if they keep working on reforms, reconciliation and commitments they will certainly be members of the Union. The task these nations have is huge and this is the reason why we seriously need new policies. We know the challenge can be met.
We know that for some of you, political leaders, it is not easy to convince your countries’ public opinion about the necessity of expanding the European Union. However, you do have all arguments to do it. You know everything we have done in that region and how many soldiers we have there. You also know nothing can justify the current status quo and the adhesion to the European Union is the only way to overcome it. We are facing a critical moment in the history of the Union. We urge your Heads of States, Primer Ministers and Presidents to guide these new fragile democracies. Europe can overcome the crisis of the Constitution but it won’t survive another Srebrenica.

Le Monde (France)

Dirigeants européens, les Balkans vous attendent!”, by Richard von Weizsäcker, Giuliano Amato, Carl Bildt, Jean-Luc Dehaene, Le Monde, June 18, 2005.