German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and Slovenian counterpart Tanja Fajon pledged joint support for Western Balkan countries’ European Union aspirations following talks in Ljubljana. Baerbock stressed their shared commitment to advancing EU accession for these nations, considering it a geopolitical necessity heightened by Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

The Western Balkans, including Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia, are all pursuing EU membership, albeit at varying stages of the process.

Highlighting concerns, Baerbock expressed Germany’s scrutiny over the Serbian elections due to increased nationalist propaganda and unequal media access for political candidates.

Baerbock also criticized Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s obstruction of EU accession negotiations with Ukraine, stating the EU’s disapproval of such actions, especially during sensitive times.

The discussion extended to climate change and the devastating floods that struck Slovenia during the summer, impacting two-thirds of the country and causing extensive damage. Slovenia is receiving EU aid to aid in recovery efforts. Baerbock and Fajon visited Slovenia’s national logistics center for disaster control, underscoring the need for collective action in responding to such crises.