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EU High Representative Federica Mogherini on 20 September reconfirmed the unequivocal support of the EU for the enlargement perspective of the Western Balkans following the meeting she held together with Commissioner Johannes Hahn with the leaders of the Western Balkans Six in the margins of the 72nd United Nations General Assembly in New York. This support was most recently demonstrated both at the level of the European Council as well as by the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, in his annual State of the Union speech. “In line with this commitment, the European Union is stepping up its support to all partners towards achievable and realistic objectives, so that their progress will be irreversible by the end of our mandate”, Mogherini and Hahn said in a joint statement.
At the meeting, the leaders of the Western Balkans confirmed their commitment to reinforced reform work, in particular on justice, rule of law and fundamental rights, as well as to regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations to maintain and build on this positive momentum.
Mogherini also met on Tuesday in New York with Presidents Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia and Hashim Thaçi of Kosovo, and continued the discussion on a new phase of the EU-facilitated Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina on comprehensive normalisation of relations, building on meetings in July and August. They also reviewed progress made in the implementation of the agreement on Justice that will be fully implemented on 17 October. The High Representative welcomed the continued commitment by both Presidents to the normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia and recalled that progress by both on their EU integration agendas is firmly linked to progress in the Dialogue.
The Western Balkans was also a topic of Mogherini’s meeting with the US Vice-President Mike Pence on 19 September. Both agreed to continue a close cooperation of the EU and the US in the region.