ZAGREB, May 11, 2018 – The foreign ministers of the Visegrad Group consisting of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland, and the four Balkan EU member states including Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia (B4), met in Athens on Friday, six days before the forthcoming informal EU summit meeting between the EU bloc and western Balkan aspirants.
We, friends of the EU enlargement have come here, Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Marija Pejčinović Burić said at the meeting held in Greece.
This was the second ministerial Meeting of the Visegrad Group and the Balkan EU member states.
Western Balkan EU candidate countries – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia were also invited to participate in the meeting.
Bulgarian Foreign and European Affairs Minister Ekaterina Zaharieva said that it was realistic to expect the accession of the first newcomers – Serbia and Montenegro – in 2025. However, her Hungarian counterpart Peter Szijjarto advocated a faster pace of the enlargement, otherwise the region could have serious security issues. All big players have their strategies for that region, except the EU, he added.
Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias crticised the idea of a multiple-speed Europe as being against the interest of smaller members.
The EU-Western Balkans summit, which will take place in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia on 17 May, will aim “to inject new energy in the EU-Western Balkans relationship,” according to a statement released on the EU website. The Sofia gathering is supposed “to reaffirm the EU’s commitment towards its Western Balkans partners and reiterate the region’s belonging to the European family.”
The EU-Western Balkans summit will bring together the heads of state or government from EU member states and from the 6 Western Balkans partners: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo. The meeting will be hosted by Boyko Borissov, Prime Minister of Bulgaria, which currently holds the Presidency of the Council. The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, will chair the meeting.