New EU Strategy for the Western Balkans6/2/18
Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee, T.D., welcomes new EU Strategy for the Western Balkans
Welcoming the new EU Strategy for the Western Balkans which was presented to the European Parliament today, 6 February, the Minister of State for European Affairs, Helen McEntee, T.D said
‘The strategy on the Western Balkans, published today, reaffirms the commitment of the European Union to the European perspective of all of the countries of the Western Balkans, a commitment that Ireland fully supports. It outlines a framework for those aspiring to join the Union in the foreseeable future. Ireland believes that we should welcome those who are ready to take on the responsibilities and obligations of membership, and that we should encourage them along their path. I spent last week meeting key players in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and we discussed many of the issues contained in the strategy. I encouraged the candidate and potential candidate countries to seize the momentum provided by the renewed focus on the Western Balkans by the Bulgarian Presidency of the EU and assured them of Ireland’s support as they carry out the reforms necessary to meet the high standard expected by the European Union. ‘
Notes to editors:
The EU High Representative Frederica Mogherini is scheduled to present the new EU strategy for the Western Balkans in the European Parliament on Tuesday, 6 February. The region is one of Bulgaria's EU Council Presidency priorities, and there will be a Western Balkans summit in Sofia on 17 May, to which the Taoiseach will be invited. In April, the EU Commission is scheduled to present its regular EU enlargement reports. These take stock of progress made by countries wishing to join the EU. There are six countries in the Western Balkans with a ‘European perspective: accession negotiations are well underway with Montenegro and Serbia, while the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Albania are still waiting for negotiations to start. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo are further behind, but have potential candidate status.