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Press release

PM Šarec attends an informal meeting on the Western Balkans

 

Slovenian prime minister Marjan Šarec has taken part in an informal meeting on the Western Balkans, hosted in Berlin by German chancellor Angela Merkel and French president Emmanuel Macron.

 

The meeting, to which the prime ministers and heads of state of the countries of the Western Balkans (Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania), Croatia and Slovenia were invited, along with the vice-president of the European Commission and High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, was a chance for all parties to exchange views, in a more narrowly focused context, on current political events in the Western Balkans. The discussion focused on providing an overview of conditions in the region and an exchange of opinions and views regarding the progress being made in normalising relations between Belgrade and Pristina.

  

Prime minister Šarec highlighted Slovenia’s support for a Euro-Atlantic future for the region. He stressed the importance of further engaging the European Union in the process of encouraging good neighbourly relations, resolving outstanding issues, promoting reconciliation and strengthening regional cooperation. In this context, the Prespa agreement and treaty between Greece and North Macedonia represents an important model for countries seeking to reach compromise on other issues.

  

He emphasised the importance of continued reform processes in the countries of the region, and highlighted Slovenia’s support for the continuation of dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. Agreement between Serbia and Kosovo is vitally important for regional stability, as well as for both countries’ European integration processes.  Slovenia pointed out that any agreement had to accord with international law and be well-coordinated and comprehensive. It could not leave room for open or differing interpretations, and had to be final and capable of being implemented in full. Everything had to be done to avoid any agreement having a negative impact on other countries in the region.

  

In the course of the discussion, prime minister Šarec also highlighted the importance of continuing the EU expansion process in those countries that met the conditions for this next step. Where those conditions were met by a candidate country, the EU had to adopt the appropriate decisions allowing them to progress further. As he further pointed out, Slovenia will continue to give the countries of the region strong all-round support in their efforts to join the EU. Slovenia’s positions are based on the fact that progress, compliance with standards and regional stability are of key importance to the country.