ZAGREB, April 28, 2018 – Western Balkan countries leaders said in the conclusions of their annual meeting of the Brdo-Brijuni Process in the Macedonian capital Skopje on Friday they agreed to have the responsibility for the successful path to membership of the EU be on countries aspiring to membership and their efforts to implement reforms an resolve mutual disputes. Disputes should be resolved through peaceful means, the leaders of the Western Balkan countries said in the conclusions of their annual meeting.
The Brdo-Brijuni Process was launched in 2013 by Slovenia and Croatia in order to further stabilise the situation in Southeast Europe through regional cooperation and by solving outstanding issues. The meeting was also attended by the leaders of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro, as well as European Council President Donald Tusk and Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borissov whose country is currently presiding over the European Union.
The leaders said they encouraged the resolution of open questions and disputes through peaceful means, in the spirit of good neighbourly relations and international law, adding it was up to the EU candidate countries and potential candidates to implement the required reforms. They praised Bulgaria’s EU presidency, given that Bulgaria had set as one of the priorities of its presidency the strengthening of the European prospects of the Western Balkan countries. A summit is scheduled to be held in Sofia in May to focus on these issues.
Croatian President Kolinda Grabar Kitarović told a news conference that following a pause in joining the block that lasted several years, “a dangerous vacuum” had been created that was now filled by third countries that do not want EU membership prospects for Western Balkan countries, adding that progress was finally on the horizon and the European Commission and the European Council were once again focused on the region.
She added Croatia would do everything to help accelerate the process of opening EU negotiations with Macedonia and Albania, adding that Zagreb strongly supported the enlargement policy based on the principle of valuing individual merits of each country.
The next meeting of the Brdo-Brijuni Process meeting will be hosted by Albania in 2019.