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Balkans: Italy encourages closer EU integration – Mogherini meets Luksic. “I plan to visit region at start of EU Presidency”

“The Italian government supports Montenegro’s closer integration with the EU and with NATO. The Italian Presidency has a role to play in the western Balkans by encouraging European integration for the entire region”. This was Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini’s comment in the joint press conference with her Montenegrin opposite number, Igor Luksic, at the end of their bilateral at the Farnesina. Mogherini underscored the good relations between the two countries and announced that they had signed a cultural cooperation and education cooperation agreement. “Today, I’ve signed my first two agreements as minister: one with Kosovo and one with Montenegro”, she added.

“I plan to visit the region early in our EU Presidency”

“I’m planning a visit to the entire western Balkan region, I hope at the start of Italy’s European Presidency, not least to convey the message that enlargement is a priority for Italy and for the EU. We’re simply recognising the situation that already exists: you’re European, it’s just a question of making it official”, added Minister Mogherini in response to Minister Luksic’s invitation. “Over the last 2 months I’ve met all of my Balkan colleagues. It’s the only region, apart from the EU, with which I’ve had the opportunity for all of these bilateral meetings”. Mogherini stressed that the crisis in Ukraine “must not overshadow our priorities with respect to the western Balkans. We’re neighbours, with an area of common interest”.