The candidate status itself creates great benefits for the people. To European friends in the public – the Western Balkans is part of this project, the Western Balkans is geographically, economically, culturally and historically European. You share those values, you have solid partners in NATO, and you are excellent bilateral partners with the United States, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs and Western Balkans Special Representative, Gabriel Escobar, told a session on “Western Balkans: navigating in turbulent times” held as part of the Prespa Forum Dialogue 2022 in Ohrid.

Although people, as Escobar pointed out, focus on a specific process within a specific political framework, there is a lot of progress that is happening elsewhere through trade, bilateral channels, multilateral channels and in all of them, as he said, the Western Balkans is succeeding.

The policy of the United States, as he stressed, is to encourage, support all initiatives that bring us closer to Europe and bring the region closer.

As long as the Western Balkans meet the conditions – rule of law, open and transparent markets and inclusiveness, we will continue to provide support, Escobar said.