Borrell: Western Balkans has key geostrategic role for the European Union

Francois Walschaerts/Pool via REUTERS

The Western Balkans is a geopolitical issue; it has a geopolitical significance for the European Union, and the bloc's foreign ministers agree the Union should politically engage with the region besides a clear commitment to its European perspective, Josep Borrell, the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, has said in Brussels on Monday.

After the EU’s ministerial meeting, he said there was nothing new regarding the Belgrade – Pristina dialogue on the normalisation of relations, saying a new round of talks would be held in June.

Earlier on Monday Borrell warned in non-paper of a negative perception of the EU accession process in the Western Balkans, adding that the integration of the region is in the Union’s political, security and economic interest.

Borrell later said the accession talks with Serbia and Montenegro on a prospect of opening new chapters in the accession negotiations with the EU should continue. He added the bloc’s ministers insisted with their Western Balkans’ partners to accelerate European reforms.

„I invited the Western Balkans’ leaders to Brussels for a meeting and dinner to look at the overall situation in the region as we’ve done today,“ Borrell said.

He added it was the first time in two years that „the Western Balkans was on the EU Council of Ministers’ agenda, which is pretty odd.“

„There are many other problems related to the Western Balkans besides the enlargement, and we have to deal with that region from the geopolitical perspective,“ Borell said.

He added that „the ministerial meeting agreed about the necessity of the acceleration of the Western Balkans reforms as well as about the need for more powerful, more favourable and open-minded messages“ to the region.

Borrell said the ministers also agreed that Bulgaria and North Macedonia should resolve bilateral issues on their own.