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The European Union is committed to the European perspective of the whole of the Western Balkans region and continues intense engagements in this respect. Notably, Federica Mogherini was the first High Representative to participate at the summit of the South-East Europe Cooperation Process (SEECP) in Dubrovnik, Croatia, on Friday; a strong EU high-level delegation will travel to the Western Balkans summit in Trieste next week. Mogherini also hosted a meeting with the Presidents Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia and Hashim Thaçi of Kosovo this morning in Brussels.
Mogherini’s message in Dubrovnik was clear: " The future of the European Union will not be one of 27 after the UK leaves. We will for sure have new Member States. From the EU perspective it is not a matter of if this will happen but when this will happen, and we see committed partners in this region." Her attendance at the summit was a demonstration of the relevance the EU and all the Member States attach to the stability of the region and economic cooperation between countries of the region. "This is also the way that can accompany in the best possible manner the integration of the Balkans 6 in the EU," said Mogherini.
The process of regional cooperation and enlargement "is extremely important for us. We have common challenges [and] we have common opportunities." Speaking of security, the High Representative pointed out that "we share a territory. It's not about bringing the Western Balkans into Europe. They are Europe already. It's not only an interest of the Western Balkans countries; it is also an interest of the EU countries to have a strong security cooperation with all of the region.”
Following the bilaterals she had with both leaders in the margins of the SEECP, Mogherini this morning hosted an informal meeting in Brussels with the Presidents Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia and Hashim Thaçi of Kosovo, and confirmed once again the commitment of the EU for the European perspective of the whole Western Balkans.
They agreed to work on starting a new phase of the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina for normalisation of relations and reconciliation, and stressed the importance of the implementation of the agreements reached in the dialogue without delay.
On 12 July the High Representative will also head a strong EU delegation, including Commissioners Johannes Hahn and Violeta Bulc, at the Trieste summit.