Thursday, 13 December 2018 | News today: 23

Western Balkans’ Foreign Ministers agree to intensify co-operation

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Foreign ministers of the Western Balkan countries confirmed Friday in Sarajevo their commitment to stronger regional co-operation and stressed the importance of the new EU strategy for the region.

Ministers expressed belief that meetings in this format, as agreed during the meeting in Skopje a year ago, would strengthen, enhance co-operation and mutual understanding, as well as enable the region to ‘speak with one voice’ on issues of mutual interest.

In a joint statement the ministers of Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia/Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia and Montenegro expressed appreciation for the EU regular engagement in supporting the stability, strengthening the political and economic ties within the Western Balkan region.

The ministers also agreed on the necessity to focus on concrete projects, infrastructure connectivity, economy and  entrepreneurship.

Not only political support, but also plans to fund specific projects under different programs that would be tangible in people’s everyday lives is very important for the clear European perspective of the Western Balkans, Bulgaria’s Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said at a meeting.

Christian Danielsson, Director-General of the European Commission’s DG for Enlargement, said that the meeting in Sarajevo was held at an important moment when the issues relating to the Western Balkans ‘are at the very top of the EU agenda.

‘The Strategy sets a clear perspective for the entire Western Balkans that should join the EU in future. The rules for EU accession are equal for all, and the strategy clearly indicates what needs to be done to make progress to that effect,’ said Danielsson.

Today, Sarajevo hosted a Western Balkans Fund conference bringing together the ministers of foreign affairs of Western Balkan countries and EU officials.