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As High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, I am very happy to be here at the Ministerial meeting of NATO, on the session about the Western Balkans.
The Western Balkans remain a strategic region for the European Union. Three of our partners there are also members of NATO. We have a strong link with them, both on the perspective of enlargement and for security reasons. The stability of the region is of utmost importance for us.
From this point of view, allow me to express my concerns about the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, where in the last days we have seen tensions and some attempts to try to undo 26 years of peace and stability.
We remain committed to the unity of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a single country. We call on everybody to do the reforms necessary to keep this unity and to reform the electoral law.
On Kosovo and Serbia, we had a lot of tensions in the last months, during the summer. The situation became calmer lately, but still there is a need to go back to the Dialogue, to resume the Dialogue. There is no other way to stabilise the situation.
I cannot not talk about Ukraine, it is not in the Western Balkans, but it is an issue of utmost importance. Yesterday I was with the Prime Minister of Ukraine [Denys Shmyhal] in Brussels; today I will meet the Foreign Affairs Minister [of Ukraine, Dmytro Kuleba]. And in both cases, I want to stress that, for the European Union, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Ukraine is above anything. And we will be standing firmly and decisively with Ukraine in front of any attempt to undermine its territorial integrity and sovereignty.
What can be the European Union’s response to the Russian military build up near the border with Ukraine?
We are trying to do things in order to avoid that the tension increases. This kind of crisis have to be prevented, because once they start, it is going to be much more difficult to face it. So, everything has to be done in order to make clear that any aggression against Ukraine will have a strong response. And that is what we are going to talk about today here also.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-214708