EU foreign ministers send clear message to Western Balkans

They reaffirmed the European perspective of the whole region and called on the six countries to accelerate EU-related reforms

Photo: EU The Foreign Affairs Council in session.

The Foreign Affairs Council on Monday held a strategic discussion on the Western Balkans and the reinforced EU engagement in the region. 

Ministers reaffirmed the European perspective of the whole region, underlining the importance of a political engagement in a wide range of areas. Among them are the fight against the Covid pandemic, economic cooperation, connectivity, tackling external influence and disinformation.

We agreed that the Western Balkans is a region of key geostrategic role for the European Union, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell stressed noting that the EU’s commitment to the Western Balkans needs to be very visible and “we should leave no doubt in this respect”.

“The message that the ministers sent today was very clear. They reaffirmed the European perspective of the whole region. But this is not only about the enlargement process. We want to ensure that we have a political engagement with our partners”.

The discussion emphasised the need for Western Balkan countries to accelerate EU-related reforms and reinforce a positive and constructive narrative.

The EU HR stressed the urgent need to advance on the accession process of Albania and North Macedonia, take forward the EU integration with Serbia and Montenegro, and make progress on visa liberalisation for Kosovo.

On Albania and North Macedonia, Borrell pointed out that “there has never been any intention of decoupling both countries in the accession process”.

Ministers also asked for the swift resumption of Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, and reiterated their continued and unequivocal support for Bosnia and Herzegovina’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

The Council also recalled the key role of the EU in helping Western Balkans partners in responding to the Covid 19 pandemic, through health assistance, financing for socioeconomic recovery and donation of vaccines.

 

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