Press Advisories

12. 9. 2019 18:09

The EU must offer the Western Balkans a clear vision of European perspective, V4 representatives agreed in Prague

The EU must offer the Western Balkans a clear vision of European perspective, VR representatives agreed in Prague, 12 September 2019.
The EU must offer the Western Balkans a clear vision of European perspective, VR representatives agreed in Prague, 12 September 2019.
On Thursday, 12 September 2019, a summit of the prime ministers of the Visegrád Four and representatives of the Western Balkan region took place in the ceremonial spaces of Prague Castle. The themes primarily included the expansion of the European Union, the resolution of problems with migration and cooperation in the areas of the economy and security.

The Czech Republic held the meeting of the prime ministers of the Czech Republic (Andrej Babiš), Poland (Mateusz Morawiecki), Hungary (Viktor Orbán) and Slovakia (Peter Pellegrini) with partners from the Western Balkans as part of its chairmanship of the V4 group. Edi Rama, Denis Zvizdić, Duško Markovič, Zoran Zaev, Ana Brnabić and Arbër Vllahiu sat at the meeting table. The meeting with the Balkan partners was preceded by a meeting of the V4 prime ministers, at which the statesmen primarily addressed current European issues.

“I would like to thank my colleagues from V4 for their participation at today’s meeting. We met in the morning, when we mainly discussed European issues, especially our expectations from the new European Commission. Of course we also discussed the situation with Brexit and our ambitions with regard to the climate in relation to my participation in the conference in New York. I think that we have the same opinion on these issues and we also emphasised that we all definitely have to convince the European Commission that nuclear energy is a clean source, with no emissions and that it cannot be discriminated against in Europe. We also discussed the future EU budget and migration. We spent about an hour and a half together, and in my opinion that wasn’t enough time,” Prime Minister Andrej Babiš stated in summary of the meeting. “We then welcomed our colleagues from the Western Balkans and I would like to thank them as well, of course. They are our traditional partners and I am glad that it was possible to organise today’s meeting and that they accepted our invitation,” added the Prime Minister.

The V4 countries have long been strong supporters of close relations between the Western Balkans and the European Union. “Today we approved a declaration on behalf of the V4 in which we confirm our common conviction that our partners from the Western Balkans should have a place at the table in the EU. The expansion of the EU is, in my opinion, the most effective tool for supporting stability, security, democracy and prosperity in the Western Balkans. Security in the Balkans means security in Europe. I believe that the EU must offer all of the Western Balkans a clear and steadfast vision of European perspective. I and my colleagues from the V4 confirmed this today and we will be convincing our partners in the European Council of this in October,” stated Prime Minister Babiš.

You can find the full text of the accepted declaration on the Office of the Government’s webpages.

According to the Czech Prime Minister, it is also necessary to start talking about why the acceptance of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia to the Schengen Area is taking so long. “I think that our colleagues in the European Council should learn to differentiate between the expansion of the European Union and the expansion of the Schengen Area, which is very important from the perspective of security and migration,” claimed the Prime Minister. The V4 representatives agreed that the inclusion of the Western Balkan region in European integration is a condition for completing the unification of Europe. “We especially hope that we can maintain the tempo of reforms that began with the acceptance of the historic Prespa Agreement, and that it will finally be possible in October to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia as well as with Albania,” Prime Minister Babiš stated.

The V4 countries also want to push for a significant acceleration of the on-going accession negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro. “I trust that we will be able to welcome them to the family of EU members as soon as possible, ideally before the end of the future EU Multiannual Financial Framework, meaning before the end of the year 2027. We are also of the opinion that the reform processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina will strengthen the outlook of the entire region for membership in the EU,” Andrej Babiš asserted.

The issue of illegal migration was also one of the fundamental themes. The Western Balkan region is also a key partner for the Central European countries for resolving migration and security issues. “That is why we appreciate the efforts of our partners from the Western Balkans in solving the issue of the flow of migrants to the European Union,” stated the Prime Minister. The politicians also discussed the situation in Turkey and in Syria. “We have to do all we can for peace to truly prevail in Syria and for us to begin the process that would culminate in those six million refugees, who are mainly in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, returning home,” explained Andrej Babiš.

To this end, the V4 representatives want to get more involved both in Europe and on a wider international scale. Prime Minister Babiš recalled that the Czech government has provided considerable financial, material and technical support to the Western Balkans to help resolve migration. “But we must finally resolve the situation systematically,” he added. The politicians also talked with the Western Balkan partners about the further development of economic cooperation and the possibilities to help this region. One of the themes, for example, was better transportation and energy interconnections between both the regions.

print article   email   facebook   twitter

Photo gallery

Related items

Photo Gallery