Dendias: Western Balkans is Integral Part of Europe

The Chief of Greek diplomacy, Nikos Dendias, at the opening of the conference titled “From Thessaloniki to Zagreb”, where FM, Nikola Dimitrov also participated, stated that the Western Balkan countries European neighbours confirm that the region is integral part of Europe. Speaking at the session “Furthering European integration of the Western Balkans: Current challenges and perspectives”, Dendias underlined that Thessaloniki has been chosen as host for the Conference because that’s the place where in 2003 the Thessaloniki agenda, which regulated the relations between EU and the Western Balkans has been confirmed. According to him this meeting is held at a time when EU faces global challenges and when they lost one of their members, and that’s why in this critical moment it has to retain the European idea. Dendias believes that the is no question whether the region belongs in EU, however the Western Balkan countries need to dedicate themselves to the rule of law, respecting human rights and strengthening the democratic institutions. He underlines that EU needs to fulfil its promises for integration of the countries in the region which will transform the Western Balkans, tis integration into the Union’s market, creating good business climate, lowering unemployment, attracting new investments and stopping brain drain. Slovenian FM, Miro Cerar, before the start of the conference stated that he is optimistic that EU will fulfil all promises and hopes that Macedonia and Albania will start accession negotiation in March, and that Slovenia is a strong supporter on the matter. Croatian Foreign and European Affairs Minister, Gordan Grlic-Radman also expressed his expectations for Macedonia and Albania to receive negotiations date, underlining that there is positive climate in the Union on the topic, which he believes is a logical course for the events. Regarding the possibility of blockade by some countries, Grlic-Radman stated that the European Union is a family where all opinions need to be respected, however according to him EU’s interest in the new geopolitical climate conditions need to be taken into consideration and the Union’s security interests in the Western Balkans being part of the block.