Brdo-Brijuni Process countries urge EU to speed up expansion to Western Balkans

NEWS 17.05.2021 17:08
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Source: Jure Makovec / AFP

Leaders of countries participating in the ‘Brdo-Brijuni Process’ adopted a Declaration in which they emphasized the importance of cooperation and good neighbourly relations and urged the European Union to accelerate the EU integration process for Western Balkan countries.

The Chairman of Bosnia’s tripartite Presidency, Milorad Dodik, as well as the other two members, Zeljko Komsic and Sefik Dzaferovic, attended the meeting of regional leaders on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Brdo-Brijuni process on Brdo near Kranj. The meeting was hosted by Slovenian President, Borut Pahor, and the cohost was Croatia’s Zoran Milanovic. It was also attended by the leaders of other countries participating in the Brdo – Brijuni Process – Aleksandar Vucic, Ilir Meta, Milo Djukanovic, Stevo Pendarovski and Vjosa Osmani.

The Brdo-Brijuni process has “increased the awareness of the European Union Member States and institutions about the significance of the faster enlargement to the Western Balkans,” the Declaration said.

As for the COVID-19 pandemic, the leaders “stressed the need to use the recovery as an opportunity for a green and digital transition that will lead to more sustainable development, offering opportunities to younger generations.”

They welcomed the adoption of the October 2020 EU Economic and Investment Plan for the Western Balkans “and the fact that it is accompanied by significant financial resources.”

“As an integral part of Europe, the Western Balkans have the right and responsibility to keep up with the development of the EU member states as much as possible this facilitating their EU membership. We, the leaders of the Brdo-Brijuni Process are advocating for a common strategic vision of Europe, whole, free and at peace. We underline our commitment to peace and stability, including good neighborly relations,” the Declaration says.

The leaders emphasized that the Western Balkans are a part of Europe and that “Europe’s unification is not complete without the Western Balkans,” arguing that with EU membership “the borders between Member States become less significant” providing a “broader space for coexistence of a plurality of national identities.”

“We once again acknowledge the necessity to account for those who went missing during the conflicts on the territory of former Yugoslavia and reiterate the necessity to investigate the circumstances of their disappearances and bring perpetrators to justice, with the aim to contribute to lasting reconciliation, peace and stability.”

The Declaration says that enlargement into the Western Balkans is “in the EU’s political, security and economic interest, a geopolitical necessity and a paramount political precondition for the stable prosperous and sustainable future for Europe.”
It calls for the EU to “more actively engage” with the states of the region and encourage them to meet conditions for their EU membership as soon as possible.
“Each partner is aware that it has to adopt and implement necessary reforms, including in the field of rule of law, democratization and economy, and is committed to do it faster and more efficiently,” it says.

The leaders also emphasized the importance of “Visa Liberalisation for Pristina” and urged the EU to open membership talks with Albania and North Macedonia “as a matter of urgency, without further delay.”

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