European Western Balkans
Regional cooperation

Visegrad group suppots the EU membership bid of Western Balkans

Western Balkans and Visegrad Group meeting; Photo: Tanjug / Tamas Kovacs / MTI via AP

TIRANA – Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Western Balkans countries attended the Annual Conference of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Visegrad countries (Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia) and Western Balkans countries held in Budapest in the framework of the Presidency of the Visegrad Group.

Discussion was focused on identifying the steps towards accelerating the EU enlargement process, not only as a technical exercise, but also as an instrument in meeting security challenges in Europe.

The focus of the talks of Foreign Ministers was on the opportunity to accelerate the process of enlargement of the European Union to the countries of the Western Balkans, whose Euro-Atlantic integration is the leading foreign policy priority of the Bulgarian government and our future presidency of the Council of the EU.

The Visegrad group countries urged that a target date for the official opening of accession negotiations with Albania should be determined. They praised Albania’s progress, especially on the reform of the justice system, and demanded that this progress be clearly reflected in EU decision-making.

Minister Bushati, in his speech praised the importance of the Visegrad countries and their support so that the EU’s recent commitment to the enlargement process is translated into concrete steps.

The Minister highlighted the importance of the enlargement agenda as an essential element for our region but also to EU itself. While informing on the ongoing progress in the implementation of the reforms undertaken by Albanian governments, Minister Bushati emphasized that “implementation of vetting process” is a key step to succeed in the process of opening negotiations to our European Union membership.

Poland supports the EU membership bid of Western Balkan states, Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski has said.

“The European integration process by South East European states helps strengthen the security and progress of the whole continent,” Waszczykowski said.

“The current pace of the opening of chapters is insufficient and politically limited due to internal problems in some EU member states. However, Serbia is ready for EU membership talks,” Ivica Dačić said at a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Visegrad Group and Western Balkans countries in Budapest, as quoted by the Serbian Foreign Ministry.

“We shall work the best we can and we shall continue to focus on the reforms at home because our goal is to make Macedonia be a European democracy. We shall continue not have disputes with our neighbors even though there were temptations to do so,”  said Foreign Affairs Minister of Macedonia Nikola Dimitrov.

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