RCC Annual Meeting: Overcoming bilateral disputes is a priority

RCC Secretary General Majlinda Bregu at the Annual Meeting; Photo: RCC

SARAJEVO – A year behind the Regional Cooperation Council has been a dynamic one, assessed Majlinda Bregu, Secretary General of the RCC while opening the 11th organisation’s Annual Meeting taking place within the high-level meetings of the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) in Sarajevo today.

According to Bregu, work on overcoming bilateral issues between the Western Balkan countries is of utmost importance for economical and social reconciliation.

“The price for stagnation and postponing further the decision on the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and Republic of North Macedonia is, in short, a risk. Any positive moment can precipitate easily, if the membership perspective would continue to kick the can down the road”, she said.

There’s no better time to start negotiating than now, especially as two SEECP members, Bulgaria and North Macedonia, are taking over a joint Chairmanship of the Berlin Process, which will enhance region ownership of the process, emphasised Bregu.

Almir Šahović, Assistant Foreign Minister of Bosnia Herzegovina addressed the meeting on behalf of the SEECP Chairmanship-in-Office (C-i-O) during the past year, reiterating full support to the RCC’s activities and thanking the organisation for great cooperation to connectivity, which was focus of their C-i-O mandate.

Angelina Eichhorst, Director for Western Europe, Western Balkans and Turkey AT the European External Action Service (EEAS) said that the EU will continue to provide support to the RCC and regional cooperation calling upon all partners from the region to refrain from communication through media but to try and work out the differences.

She also added the EU wanted to make happen what they committed to in this region, in connectivity, economic integration and Western Balkans Strategy implementation, jointly, hand-in-hand with the RCC and all partners in the region, by working hard to make it true.

“Excellent cooperation with the SEECP C-i-O ensured smooth implementation of the regional programmes. At this point I would like to thank again the outgoing  CiO of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and reiterate our commitment and readiness to offer assistance to the incoming C-i-O of Kosovo*, as well as to wish it a successful assumption of the Chairmanship“, concluded Bregu.

The Annual Meeting participants endorsed the RCC’s Annual Report for period 2018–2019 and organisation’s Strategy and Work Programme 2020–2022, which will be forwarded to the SEECP Meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs for final adoption.

The RCC’s Secretary General Bregu also share the main findings of the Balkan Barometer 2019 edition with the meeting’s participants, sharing what citizens and businesses in the region think about current situation and circumstances in their societies.