At the end of this month, the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker will pay a four-day visit to the six Western Balkan countries included in the European Enlargement Strategy.

Juncker will travel to Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, FY Republic of Macedonia and Albania. The tour begins on February 26th and its end point will be Sofia, as Bulgaria is the rotating president of the Council of the European Union.

This new diplomatic initiative is also a preparation for the forthcoming Summit of the Heads of State of the six Western Balkan countries and EU leaders, which will be held in Sofia on 17 May.

A source from the European institutions said Juncker’s visit was due to “the strategic location of the Western Balkans that will sooner or later join the EU.” In his words, “the geopolitical presence of Russia, China and Turkey in the region is growing, and it is very important that the EU’s influence is being focused there.”

A special emphasis will be placed on countering the interests of Moscow. According to analysts, Russia wins mainly because of internal problems in the Balkans, not because of its attractive force, and Brussels will try to seek consolidation precisely in this respect.

While assuming the post of President of the European Commission in 2014, Juncker said that no enlargement of the EU is foreseen in the near future, a new strategic document for the Western Balkans states that Montenegro and Serbia should join by 2025.

“The process is based on progress – if the results of progress are achieved, 2025 may be a realistic date,” the source adds, emphasizing that the date is “a perspective rather than a deadline”.

According to him, all territorial disputes, such as the non-recognition of Kosovo from Serbia, “must be resolved” at that time.

A dozen EU member states want the six countries of the Western Balkans to be included in the political summits of the Union even before they join it.

At the same time, however, last month, Spain, which does not recognize Kosovo’s independence from Serbia, said that the new strategy for the Western Balkans should “make a clear distinction” between Kosovo and the five other candidates for the Balkans. Four other EU member states – Cyprus, Greece, Romania and Slovakia do not recognize Kosovo either.