SOFIA, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Bulgarian Member of the European Parliament Andrey Kovatchev said here on Friday that there are many obstacles stifling the integration of the Western Balkan countries into the European Union (EU).
There are initiatives trying to bring the Western Balkan countries closer to the EU, Kovatchev said during a conference. "However, many obstacles are in the way, the absorption capacity of the EU," said Kovatchev, vice-chair of the Group of the European People's Party. "We have the so-called enlargement fatigue."
The EU always emphasizes what it expects from the candidate countries, "but we don't talk so much about the other side of the coin. This is the integration capacity of the Northern and Western countries in the EU," Kovatchev said.
Kovatchev said he expected leaders to be brave in front of their nations to explain that the Western Balkan region cannot stay a black hall in the middle of Europe.
He said providing a tangible European perspective for the Western Balkans was one of Bulgaria's priorities during the country's presidency of the Council of the EU in the first half of 2018.
"When we started to think about the priorities of the Bulgarian EU Presidency, many people in Western and Northern Europe told us it was not a good idea to choose enlargement because there was deadlock and little willingness to push the idea. But we had the courage to put it on the agenda," Kovatchev said.