10:42 GMT02 April 2020
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    VIENNA (Sputnik) - Austria supports Macedonia as well as other Western Balkan countries on their path toward EU membership, Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said on Wednesday, following talks with Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev in Vienna.

    "Austria will continue to stand alongside Macedonia and other Western Balkan countries. We want to support this region. We want, first of all, this region to become a part of the European Union, because the European Union will be comprehensive in geographical terms only after all Western Balkan states will become its members," Kurz told reporters.

    READ MORE: The West Is 'Responsible' for Situation in the Balkans — Author

    The Austrian chancellor, at the same time, added that it was irrelevant to set a concrete date for Macedonia's joining the bloc.

    "Everything always depends on the compliance with the criteria, progress in certain countries of the Western Balkans. But now I see Macedonia's strong will to move toward the European Union," Kurz added.

    The EU Western Balkan enlargement policy deals with six countries, namely Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. Only Croatia has managed to become a full member of the alliance so far, having joined the European Union in 2013.

    On February 6, 2018, the European Commission released a new EU enlargement strategy with regard to Western Balkan countries, prior to which Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia were designated as potential candidates for EU membership in 2003.

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    EU, Sebastian Kurz, Austria, Balkans
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