The European Union’s (EU) foreign ministers showed "an even stronger support, determination and awareness among Member States on the strategic importance for the EU to be consistent on the next steps of the enlargement process," Federica Mogherini, the outgoing chief of EU diplomacy said on Friday in Helsinki, following the meeting of the EU FMs with the partners in the Western Balkans.
Addressing a press conference, Mogherini said it was not her job to say if there was unanimity in the stances that the ministers took emphasising that the meeting was informal.
The EU's senior official stressed it was important for the countries in the region to join the Union, she continued, but that it was often forgotten “how important it is for the EU itself and the uniting of the continent.”
There is no reason for concern on any other player, in any other part of the world, playing a role that is bigger than the one the European Union has because the bloc's trade and investments in the Balkans are far beyond the numbers that any other player in the world can put in place, underlined Mogherini.
The enlargement is not only a matter of geography but the fact that the countries of the region are neighbours of the member states and an “island” in-between the Union, Mogherini stressed, adding that the enlargement is of crucial importance for the peace-building and reconciliation.
"We welcomed all six #WesternBalkans partners and had a very intense (…) conversation underlining the importance of being consistent on their side, on the continuation of the reform processes, of reconciliation and of regional integration" @FedericaMog @EU2019FI #Gymnich pic.twitter.com/ede1i2QnHg
— European External Action Service – EEAS ?? (@eu_eeas) August 30, 2019
“Let us not forget that some of these countries were at war just 20 years ago and that is a very short period of time,” she added.
Pecca Havisto, the Foreign Minister of Finland, the country that took over the EU Presidency in July 2019, told the reporters it was of crucial importance for the countries in the region to strengthen the rule of law and the freedom of expression before they join the bloc, adding that the regional cooperation is also important.
In a brief statement for N1, Bosnian Foreign Minister Igor Crnadak said that the foreign officials called for the urgent formation of authorities in Bosnia. According to him, the ministers welcomed the agreement on formation of authorities from August 5 but they also said that, in case if the deal is not implemented, they would “accept as a partner any reform-driven and European majority capable of appointing new Council of Ministers.”