European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has held talks with prime ministers of the Western Balkans countries, encouraging them to “further deepen and address with renewed energy” the work needed for the EU future of their countries, the European External Action Service (EEAS) said.
Those at the meeting included the prime ministers Duško Marković of Montenegro, Ramush Haradinaj of Kosovo, Edi Rama of Albania, Ana Brnabić of Serbia, and Denis Zvizdić, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
The talks were hosted in Skopje by Macedonia’s Prime Minister Zoran Zaev on the evening of April 18, a day after the presentation of the European Commission’s 2018 Enlargement package, which recommended opening EU membership negotiations with Albania and Macedonia.
The meeting was also part of now-regular exchanges with the leaders from the region and the European Union, the latest one being a working lunch in Sofia, hosted by Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov, in the presence of the President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, the EEAS said.
Mogherini underlined the importance of regular meetings, as this helps “creating not only the confidence but also open, direct, frank, constructive channels that partners have among themselves,” the statement said.
“It also helps and accompanies the good cooperation within the region – the region has a common future and rather than the competition among different players, what has made and what is making the region advance, especially on the European Union path, is the cooperative approach, which is extremely valuable also for the citizens of the region.”
Mogherini and the prime ministers discussed the enlargement package, including how to support each other and solve open issues where they exist, in the spirit of good neighbourly relations and regional co-operation.
“They underlined their full commitment to continue working to take forward the European Union integration process, reiterating their strong shared interest, responsibility and determination to achieve tangible results to improve the lives of the people of the region.
“Addressing reforms in the area of the rule of law, fundamental rights and good governance remains at the forefront of the work.”
Mogherini and the heads of government also “looked ahead” at the EU-Western Balkans summit that will take place in Bulgarian capital city Sofia on May 17 2018. They also looked forward to positive Council Conclusions in June, the statement said.
Mogherini encouraged the prime ministers to further deepen and address with renewed energy the work needed in order to move closer to their European Union future, for the shared benefit of EU and Western Balkan citizens, the EEAS statement said.
(Photo: Olaf Kosinsky/Skillshare.eu)