Remarks by HR/VP Federica Mogherini at the press conference following the informal meeting of EU Foreign Ministers (Gymnich)
“We had the pleasure of welcoming our partners from our six Western Balkan partners. This is a format that has been used already before in different meetings, even if it is not the traditional format of inviting the candidate countries that we have used in the last four to five years at our Gymnichs. This does not create a precedent. This is simply because we wanted today to discuss the developments in the Balkans – integration and cooperation in the region. We wanted to do it with our partners in the region, as we do at several levels on different occasions. We welcomed all six of them and had a very intense, very candid, very constructive, interesting and lively conversation with them, underlining the importance of being consistent on their side, on the continuation of the reform processes, of reconciliation processes and of regional integration and cooperation among them.
We also need to have a consistent approach of the European Union, especially when it comes to upcoming decisions to be taken, be it the decision on opening negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, be it the decision to work in the Council on the Kosovo visa liberalisation. We obviously hoped and discussed the need for Serbia and Kosovo, for Belgrade and Pristina, to come back to negotiations under EU facilitation. I can say that I am quite encouraged by the positive spirit and the atmosphere – given that it is still the Balkans – that was expressed during the meeting by our partners in the Balkans, but also by our Member States.”