Ahead of her visit to the Western Balkans, Annalena Baerbock, German Foreign Minister, said her country's priorities were peace in the region and its European Union perspective.
In her article, carried out by the KoSSev website, Baerbock recalled the horrors of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the unity the EU showed in reacting to what she called the violation of international law. She added that the Union could not maintain normal economic and financial relations with those who did it.
„War always means death and destruction – no one in Europe knows that better than you in the Western Balkans. Images of families fleeing war from burning Ukrainian cities revokes the memory of the darkest moments when the war left painful traces in the Western Balkans. At the same time, these images show that today’s peace in the Western Balkans may not be perfect, but it is invaluable for mothers and fathers whose children today in Sarajevo, Belgrade or Pristina study in schools and colleges instead of dying as soldiers at the front. That peace is also invaluable for Europe because without peace in the Western Balkans, there is no stability on our continent,“ Baerbock wrote.
She added that because of that, she was „very concerned that old conflicts in the region have been renewed: tweets and posters glorifying war criminals; fierce debates over status issues that threaten to escalate; political officials who try to destroy the integrity of an entire state because it serves their interests. All this is damaging not only the Western Balkans but all of us in Europe. That is why we must not turn our heads, especially not today, when peace in our common environment has been attacked again in the most glaring way.“
Baerbock also said that was why the Western Balkan situation was so important for the German Federal Government. For her, as the Foreign Minister, „the highest priority is to have peace there and to have the prospect of membership in the European Union… In addition, as the Federal Government of Germany, we have appointed our special envoy for this region – Manuel Sarrazin.“
„We have the same goal to preserve peace which is priceless in these uncertain times and which will more firmly establish this region in our common Europe. To achieve that goal, we believe three things are necessary: reconciliation, strong democracy and networked economy,“ Baerbock wrote ahead of her visit to the Western Balkans.
She added that „therefore, it is important that the international community will not allow certain players in Bosnia and Herzegovina to destabilise their country with their words and deeds full of hatred – that would endanger the entire region. Also, as far as the dialogue on the normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo is concerned, both sides must, bravely and pragmatically, overcome their previous positions.“