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Meetings Calendar 2006
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Press Releases

11.03.2006

Plassnik: European unification incomplete without the Balkans

Second day of Foreign Ministers' meeting devoted to the Western Balkans

 

"European unification is incomplete without the Balkans. The countries of the region are potential accession candidates. They have a clear European perspective. The Austrian Presidency of the Council is building on this conviction", Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, current President of the Council, stressed at the press conference closing the informal meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Salzburg.

The second day of the meeting was dedicated to the countries of the Western Balkans. The Foreign Ministers of the EU Member States and of the acceding countries Bulgaria and Romania were joined in the discussions by their counterparts from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia-Montenegro and Turkey. The talks focused on trade, combating organised crime, travel facilitation and how to communicate the European perspective credibly, in particular to young people in the region. At the end of their meeting, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of all 33 participating countries adopted a joint statement on EU/Western Balkans relations.

Minister Plassnik stressed: "Three years ago in Thessaloniki, a clear accession perspective was opened for the countries in the region. Today we are sending a joint signal confirming this perspective, a signal of encouragement and of joint political will. The goal is Union membership for the countries of the Western Balkans. Stability in the Balkans is a component of our own security."

She said the discussion was part of a European success story. "The EU contribution in the region has been instrumental in triggering movement in the right direction. The Union can make a difference in its external dimension with the many instruments at its disposal. We will address outstanding issues together, step by step. We clearly have a long road ahead of us. There are no miracle solutions and no shortcuts. We must now get down to work."

 

Date: 13.03.2006