Poland an excellent advocate for Western Balkans - Merkel

Merkel said the Western Balkan states' integration with the EU was a strategic goal. Jakub Kaczmarczyk/PAP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday praised Poland's role in the Western Balkan countries' EU integration efforts. Merkel gave a press conference following the close of the Western Balkans Summit in Poznan, western Poland.

Merkel said the Western Balkan states' integration with the EU was a strategic goal, and stressed that Poland was an excellent advocate of the region's European ambitions, not least owing to its own integration experiences.

She added that while the Western Balkans' integration process encountered political hindrances, progress has nonetheless been made in this area. Referring to Germany's unification experience, she also emphasised the importance of road, rail and bridge infrastructure for integration, and stressed that although the Western Balkan states may still not be fully satisifed with their infrastructure standards, they have nonetheless achieved "considerable success" in this area.