Yet, if these countries consistently fail to meet the conditions, Brussels cannot just walk away from the Balkans. The region is in many respects already part of the EU; it is an enclave within the EU, sharing borders with member states like Greece, Bulgaria and Italy that have been the source of much inward investment. The European single market is the Balkan region's most important trade partner, and problems in the region spill over into the EU very quickly - quite literally in the case of environmental accidents on the Danube and metaphorically with organized crime using the Balkans as a major route for the trafficking of weapons, drugs and people. EU interior ministers see lax border controls, failings in the rule of law and persecution of minorities causing migration as threats to the security of their own countries.
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