Federica Mogherini hosted a working dinner with the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkans

Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, hosted tonight an informal gathering with the Prime Ministers of the Western Balkans to discuss the situation in the region and in particular the opportunities to advance the region’s European Union integration in 2018. Prime Minister of Albania Edi Rama, Chairman of Bosnia and Herzegovina’s Council of Ministers Denis Zvizdić, Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia Zoran Zaev, Prime Minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj, Prime Minister of Montenegro Duško Marković and Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić reiterated their full commitment to continuing to work for the European Union integration process. As clearly confirmed this year, including by the European Council in March and by President Juncker in his September State of the Union address, 2018 will provide a unique opportunity for the region to make irreversible steps forward in its EU integration, provided that the utmost priority is given to the necessary reforms, in particular on rule of law, justice and fundamental rights. With a renewed dynamic in the EU’s enlargement policy and a chance to make important progress throughout the region, the High Representative underlined the need for all Western Balkans partners to accelerate essential reforms to deliver on their citizens’ expectations and take concrete steps towards EU integration. The participants underlined their deep determination and interest in strengthening cooperation and good neighbourly relations and in promoting regional understanding. In this context, the importance of the ongoing discussions between Presidents Hashim Thaçi and Aleksandar Vučić to advance in the EU-facilitated dialogue for normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo was...
Five important issues, and one memory

Five important issues, and one memory

I write after a week spent travelling between Brussels, Trieste and Paris, working on five important issues for security and growth in our continent: the Balkans, the Sahel, our common defence, our relations with Russia, and the Mediterranean. First, our relations with the Balkans. In Trieste we met with the leaders of our six Balkan partners that are not yet part of the European Union. Together we launched a clear message: the door of the European Union is open to the Balkans, and the path towards a unified Europe continues. But we also worked on some practical projects for regional cooperation, to improve transports and increase exchanges in the Balkans. Here is what I told journalists after the summit. And here is the press conference after last Monday’s Stabilisation and Association Council with Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Trieste Summit was also the opportunity for a long conversation with Emmanuel Macron, on the Balkans and on Africa, on the situation in the Gulf and on European defence (here is the press release). I kept working with him on Thursday, in Paris, together with Angela Merkel. The President and the Chancellor were meeting for the Franco-German Ministerial Council, and together we launched a new Alliance for growth and security in the Sahel. Here is the document we signed together. In Paris I also met with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, and with the Ministers of Defence of France, Germany, Italy and Spain – Florence Parly, Ursula Von Der Leyen, Roberta Pinotti and Dolores Cospedal. Here is the press release on my meetings in Paris. On Wednesday, in Brussels, I received the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, after my visit...