European Western Balkans

Borrell: Debate on the Western Balkans result of serious difficulties in the region

Josep Borrell; Photo: Flickr / European Parliament

BRUSSELS – High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell published a personal blog ahead of the EU Foreign Ministers’ meeting, stressing that the debate on the Western Balkans would be the result of serious difficulties currently facing the region.

He stressed that Western Balkan countries were currently facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the relations between Belgrade and Pristina, the lack of progress in the accession negotiations of Albania and North Macedonia and current problems in Montenegro.

Ahead of the meeting, Borell emphasized that the most important debate would be the one dedicated to the Western Balkans, Radio Free Europe reported.

“We meant to have an overview of the overall situation in the region and see how we can get more involved there. With this debate, we want to emphasize the importance of the Western Balkans for the EU”, Borell told adding that the EU wants to strengthen the European perspective for WB.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Portugal Augusto Santos Silva emphasized that this a very important debate on the Western Balkans.

“This region is essential for the stability and security of Europe”, Silva added.

A difficult meeting with the BiH Presidency

In the personal blog, High Representative Borrell announced that he had a difficult meeting, with many attacks and recrimination between three members of the BiH Presidency.

“For my part, I sent them a strong and clear message. First, the Western Balkans, including BiH, are the priority on the EU agenda. This is why I have scheduled a discussion on the region at the next Foreign Affairs Council on 10 May. Our commitment to the region and its EU perspective is reflected in the unprecedented levels of EU financial support – including to mitigate the impact of COVID-10”, Borell wrote.

Referring to last year’s commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Peace Agreement, the BiH leaders pledged to step up efforts to ensure that all citizens can live with dignity, mutual recognition, respect and understanding.

“Rhetoric calling into question the integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina goes in the opposite direction and it has to stop. Talking about secession, new borders, further ethnic divisions or war, is dangerous and unacceptable”, Borell stressed.

He said that BiH citizens and EU member states want to see more progress and want to see it now.

“The country’s leaders should seize the opportunity of the upcoming FAC discussion in May and the upcoming EU-BiH Stabilisation and Association Council to deliver positive news. They should come to the table with concrete results, not just promises, especially when we have heard these promises before. No more hollow words. Only action and progress can move Bosnia and Herzegovina forward on its EU accession track and lead to candidate status. The lack of progress and continuing retrograde rhetoric and actions would have the opposite effect”, Borrell concluded.

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