European Western Balkans

Mogherini: Agreement represents an opportunity that may not repeat itself

Federica Mogherini in Sarajevo © European Union , 2017 / Photo: Elvis Barukcic

BRUSSELS – “Prespa Agreement is a unique opportunity for reconciliation and resolution of a two-decade long dispute between Skopje and Athens, and may not repeat itself”, stated EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

“Our position is clear – EU fully supports the achieved agreement”, Mogherini emphasised for Macedonian agency MIA.

“It is a unique opportunity for reconciliation in the Western Balkans, and may not repeat itself. I hope that all sides will understand the importance of the moment and secure the future of the country within the EU, the future whole nation has hoped for years would become a reality”, said Mogherini before the vote on the implementation of the agreement in parliament on Monday.

She added that two sides, Athens and Skopje, “have shown political courage, leadership and responsibility” and that they worked hard in order to “bridge the differences, all the problems” and to achieve “historic agreement, supported by the whole Europe”.

On the Greek side of Prespa lake in June, the Agreement was signed by Greek and Macedonian Prime Ministers, Alexis Tsipras and Zoran Zaev, and Mogherini reminded that she also had a privilege to attend the ceremony.

“The fact that both countries are going through national procedures for the implementation of the agreement must be respected”, said Mogherini, adding that she understands the complexity and sensitivity of its historical background, as well as worries that were expressed.

Reconciliation, regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations are of vital importance when it comes to EU’s engagement in the Western Balkans, she added. They are the key principles of Union’s enlargement.

“Resolution of such a complex dispute is of great importance for the region and its progress towards the EU”, Mogherini stressed.

“This historic Agreement could lead to transformation of the complete region of the Western Balkans. Nurturing good neigbourly relations helps us work together on solving a great number of challenges and circumstances we share, including the areas such as migration”, she said.

“I believe that, together, we can achieve much for the progress, security and stability of the Europe as a whole”, concluded Mogherini.

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