Prime Ministers of Visegrad Group called on EU, in view of the October General Affairs Council, to adopt a decision for opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania

Today in Prague the Prime Ministers of the Visegratd Group countries, at today’s meeting with the presidents of the Governments from the Western Balkans, where Prime Minister Zaev took participation, adopted the V4 Statement of the Visegrad Group on the Western Balkans. 

In the statement the Visegrad Group leaders reiterated their unequivocal support for the EU accession of the Western Balkans and their firm belief that reunification of Europe cannot be complete without them joining the European Union. 

The text of the statement underlines that the EU enlargement policy provides an invaluable tool for achieving security, stability, and prosperity in the Western Balkans; consequently, a credible enlargement policy represents a strategic investment in the security, stability and prosperity of the EU as well. 

This document of the Visegrad Group stresses that accession is and will remain a merit-based process fully dependant on the objective progress achieved and it called on all EU stakeholders, in view of the October General Affairs Council, to maintain and consolidate the positive momentum created as a result of the substantial progress made in reforms as well as the entry into force of the historic Prespa Agreement by opening accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania. 

The Visegrad Group Statement emphasized that starting the negotiations in October 2019 will not only enable these two countries to focus even more on necessary reforms and serve as an important incentive for the whole region, but it will also guarantee that the EU will continue to be the leading player in promoting a positive regional transformation. 

Prime Ministers of Visegrad Group member-states expressed their expectations, in line with the Commission’s February 2018 Western Balkans Strategy, that ongoing accession negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro will be accelerated during the next Commission’s mandate accordingly to both states’ progress and the reform processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo in the coming period will strengthen the prospect of EU membership in the region. 

The Statement from Prague reiterates the support for the Western Balkan partners in their determination to maintain stability in the region, strengthen the rule of law, fight organized crime and corruption, enhance resilience to the hybrid threats, prevent radicalization and keep the migratory movements under control. 

The Visegrad Group member-states in their declaration underlined that they took note of the strategic role of the Western Balkan region in enhancing the EU’s diversification of energy supplies through the Southern Gas Corridor and expressed their determination to enhance the cooperation among the V4 and the Western Balkans. 

In the closing paragraph, the Statement underlined the determination of the Visegrad Group countries to continue supporting the extensive regional, good neighbourly relations and reconciliation in the Western Balkans, also through the International Visegrad Fund’s grants (Visegrad+Grants), scholarship programmes or assistance to the Western Balkans Fund.