The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini took an official Balkan tour last week from 1 to 4 March. Her visit comes at a difficult time when ethnic and political rising tensions are undermining the process of European integration. Nevertheless, the EU can’t stop at 27. The Western Balkans’ states belong to Europe and should join the EU family.
Ahead of the visit the High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini said: « For the European Union the work with the Western Balkans, a region in the heart of Europe, is a key priority. I work to see every single one of the Western Balkans partners move forward on the reform path, towards the European Union, to ensure the process is irreversible. Regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations remain essential in this context.”
Six-step tour started on Tuesday, first March in Montenegro which is considered as front runner in terms its EU accession talks. Although great achievements in its EU path, tensions have build up since the last elections when some 20 people were arrested for planning to carry out a coup d’état and opposition boycotted the parliament.
Then Mogherini visited Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Serbia, FYROM and finished the tour with the visit to Tirana on March 4. In every single state Mogherini, besides addressing important national issues, gave a twofold message aimed at both reassuring the Western Balkans on the European Union commitment on whole region and calming rising tensions widely spread in the area.
EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini reported to European foreign ministers yesterday on the trip she took to all six Western Balkans EU hopefuls, who find themselves under mounting geopolitical pressure. Although this region has the capability and the potential to do great, tensions risk to undermine what has been achieved so far.
The tense situation in the Western Balkans which is exposed to internal, regional and global challenges needs to be tackled as soon as possible. What is expected from the European Union is to reach a common response in terms of a strong and credible commitment to the Western Balkans. She stressed that the region has the ability and strength within itself to retain and that she expects that today, the ministers and the EU’s leaders as well to give a clear and credible determination towards the Western Balkans regarding convincing perspectives for a European integration. The increase of the tension in the Western Balkans will be a crucial subject at the meeting of EU’s leaders that will be held on the 9th and the 10th of March in Brussels.
To find out more:
European Union External Action Service website:
Balkan Insight website:
European Western Balkans website:
Mogherini: Situation in Western Balkans is tense, more convincing support from EU needed