European Western Balkans

WB Foreign Ministers at the informal meeting with the Council of the EU, discuss foreign policy alignment

Western Balkan Foreign Ministers meet with Borrell; Photo: MFA of North Macedonia

BRUSSELS – EU Foreign Affairs Ministers were joined by the six Foreign Affairs Ministers from the Western Balkans during yesterday’s meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council (FAC), which had the war in Ukraine, the situation in Gaza, as well as Georgia on the agenda.

In his press conference following the Foreign Affairs Council, High Representative of the Union and FAC chair Josep Borrell said that “our strong common engagement on foreign and security policy” was discussed at the meeting.

“We are ready to further deepen the gradual integration and expand our support to the Western Balkan partners”, Borrell said.

He added that he expected them to stand together with the EU in defence of the rules-based international order, and in particular of Ukraine, and in particular on the measures taken in order to counter the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“The alignment of the Western Balkans countries with our Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) is considered an expression of their strategic choice and commitment to the EU membership. Maintaining close ties with Putin’s regime is not compatible with building a common future with and within the European Union”, Borrell said.

In his own remarks to the media, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia Marko Đurić said that Serbia would be fully aligned with the EU Foreign Policy once it becomes a full Member State.

“When it comes to the position towards the conflict in Ukraine, from the beginning, Serbia supported all the resolutions of the United Nations, which supported and supports the territorial integrity of Ukraine. We have specifics, because of which we do not have the same foreign policy on this matter as other European members, but we expect the European Union to help, that relations in the region are normalized to a sufficient extent… that in the future we have a greater degree of harmonization”, said Đurić.

During his press conference, Josep Borrell was asked to comment on Đurić’s position. He said that sharing the same foreign policy is one of the conditions for membership and that “Serbia knows that very well”.

“The path to Europe involves aligning positions on foreign policy. You cannot pretend to be a Member State and be a spoiler of the common foreign policy. We already have enough, we don’t need more”, Borrell said.

Among the participating in the meeting was the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of North Macedonia Timčo Mucunski, whose government was voted in only a day earlier. He said that the country maintained its principled position regarding Ukraine, condemning the brutal aggression of Russia, as well as giving unequivocal support to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine.

“We are in full compliance with the common foreign and security policy of the EU, including all restrictive measures adopted by the EU against Russia, while simultaneously providing political, humanitarian and military support to Ukraine”, said Mucunski.

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