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Joint statement Blinken-Borrell: Accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia should start without delay

  • 10/20/2021 3:32 PM
Joint statement Blinken-Borrell: Accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia should start without delay

"Negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia should be opened without delay". The joint statement was made by the Government of the United States of America and the European Union, following a meeting between Secretary Blinken and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Borrell.

One week after Borrel's meeting in Washington with Secretary Anthony Blinken, the joint statement was published on the State Department's official website. The United States and the European Union are urging European Union member states to take the big step for Albania and North Macedonia on a date for the first intergovernmental conference.

The US and the EU have also focused on important issues in the Western Balkans, expressing their determination to strongly support the region, to support the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina; to encourage Kosovo-Serbia dialogue as well as calling on political forces in Montenegro to maintain a strategic western orientation.

The European Commission published yesterday the progress report for Albania, where in this report the EC recommends the opening of negotiations for Albania, after it has met the conditions. Territorial administrative reform is another point on focus in the Report where it is emphasized that the decentralization of local government should continue and more should be done for the autonomy and finances of the municipalities. The EC says that Albania has made progress in strengthening the fight against corruption and has made good progress in the fight against organized crime, noting good results in this regard.

Full US and EU Joint Statement

"Following the recent meeting between Secretary Blinken and High Representative Borrell, the United States and the EU agreed to further strengthen their joint engagement in the Western Balkans in support of the region’s progress on its European path.  We underscore our full support for the EU’s enlargement process.  EU accession, a stated priority for the whole Western Balkans, helps consolidate democratic institutions, protect fundamental rights, and advance the rule of law.  This region belongs in the European Union.  Closer integration will enhance stability and contribute to prosperity for the people of the region.  In this context, we stress that accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia should start without delay.

The United States and the European Union are united in their firm support for the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as in their joint work to promote electoral and constitutional reform and maintain the functionality of its state institutions.  We have serious concerns about increasingly divisive rhetoric in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  We call on all parties to respect and protect state institutions, resume constructive dialogue, and take steps to advance progress on the EU integration path – including on relevant reforms.  The EU and the United States stand ready to facilitate these steps.

We stress the importance of the EU-facilitated Dialogue, which is the key mechanism to address the comprehensive normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.  After the recent weeks of tension in the north of Kosovo, we encourage both parties to engage in continued and sustained de-escalation and avoid actions that threaten stability.  We welcome and support Kosovo’s engagement to fight corruption and organized crime, and we reiterate that violence against civilians, journalists, police, or other authorities is unacceptable.

We call on all political forces in Montenegro to work together to maintain strategic orientation that reflects the desire of the people of Montenegro to achieve the reforms necessary to make their hopes for a future in the EU a reality".

/Klara Ruci/