Brdo-Brijuni Process: Summit in Sofia as a concrete expression of reasserted EU’s approach to the region

Brdo-Brijuni Process 2018 in Skopje; Photo: President of Macedonia

SKOPJE – The leaders of the Brdo-Brijuni Process emphasised their endorsment of the objective criteria for enlargement of the European Union with the members of the Brdo-Brijuni Process, where evaluating the individual merits is underscored and they welcomed the messages and concrete proposals from the EU-Western Balkans Strategy.

„We commend the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, particularly for its priority to reinforce the Western Balkans’ European perspective and the synergy with the Brdo-Brijuni Process members’ views regarding consolidating lasting peace, security and prosperity in South East Europe.“

They have also welcome the upcoming EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia as a concrete expression of the reasserted EU’s approach to the region. The leaders agreed that there is a need for a greater synergy in regional initiatives and mechanisms in view of building an inclusive region.

Brdo-Brijuni Process 2018 in Skopje; Photo: President of Macedonia

„We strongly encourage and mutually support the membership of all the Brdo-Brijuni Process members in regional initiatives and mechanisms as one of the best ways to achieve inclusive and effective cooperation in the region. In this respect, we particularly salute the synergy achieved between the Brdo-Brijuni Process and the Berlin Process,“ the leaders stated.

It is also noted that the EU integration process remains a strategic catalyst to strengthening peace, security, stability and prosperity in the Western Balkans and in that regard, the leaders stressed the importance of „refraining from any polarising populist and nationalist rhetoric or activity that may artificially increase tension in bilateral and regional relations that may contribute to instabilities.“

„We expect that, in spite of existing open issues and disputes, friendly cooperation, mutual understanding, respect and dialogue in good faith between the Brdo-Brijuni Process members will be further strengthened, in conjunction with full adherence to the principles of sovereignty, territorial integrity, non-interference in the internal affairs of the states, non-enticement of violence, avoidance of incidents and refraining from unilateral acts, in particular by use of force or threat of use of force,“ it is stated in the conclusions.

When it comes to the connectivity agenda, the leaders emphasised the need for further EU assistance for improving transport, energy and digital connectivity of the members of the Brdo-Brijuni Process and strong support to existing projects.

„We support further efforts on improving energy security, energy efficiency and diversification as a crucial investment in building energy sustainability and independence, and an important driver of growth, competitiveness and regional energy integration.“

Brdo-Brijuni Process 2018 in Skopje; Photo: President of Macedonia

The next host of the Brdo-Brijuni Process Leaders’ Meeting in 2019 will be Albania.

The Brdo-Brijuni Process was held for the first time in 2013 at the initiative of the Presidents of the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia. The initiative was named “Brdo-Brijuni Process” because of the shared idea of both Presidents for its organization: Brdo deriving from Brdo pri Kranju, where the first meeting of regional leaders was held; and Brijuni, in honor of the co-organizer and partner in the making of this initiative, the Republic of Croatia.

The main aim of the initiators of the Brdo–Brijuni Process, the Presidents of the Republic of Slovenia and the Republic of Croatia, is European integration of the countries in the region and stabilization of the situation in the Western Balkans through strengthening regional cooperation and overcoming outstanding issues.

Having in mind European integration, the leaders of the Brdo–Brijuni Process countries have recognized the need for a new initiative that would take the place of the long-standing regional initiatives that function mostly on the principle of declarations, with no visible measures and activities. the other regional activities and mechanisms became too declarative and fail to deliver results.

In this sense, the Brdo-Brijuni Process played an important role by filling in the vacuum, substituting the lack of ideas by other regional initiatives and introducing a breath of fresh air and new ideas bearing visible political results, complemented further on by practical results from the Western Balkan Summits within the Berlin and the subsequent Vienna, Paris and Rome processes. What is especially worth emphasizing is the commitment for achieving open and constructive dialogue among all the countries from the region, that took the Brdo-Brijuni Process at the next, higher level, by overcoming the established principle of declarative functioning of all other regional initiatives and bringing concrete actions, measures and steps.