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Scalfarotto: enlargement to the Balkans must be an EU priority

“Deputy Minister Ivan Scalfarotto spoke by video conference at the Meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Berlin Process on the Western Balkans. At the centre of the Meeting, co-chaired by Bulgaria and North Macedonia, were the issues of connectivity and mobility within the region and with the European Union, the enhancement of young people, in relation to the definition of sustainable development policies and environmental issues, and the role of civil society in regional reconciliation processes.

“Enlargement policy must be a clear strategic priority for the European Union”, Mr. Scalfarotto noted. “At the same time a renewed impetus is needed from the Western Balkan countries for structural reforms in the fields of the economy, the rule of law, fundamental rights and justice”. Italy strongly supports the European perspective of the Western Balkans, as demonstrated by my recent meetings with the Chief Negotiators for Albania and Kosovo, with the EU Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue, Mr. Lajcak, and, most recently, with my recent visit to Belgrade”.

Finally, the Deputy Minister welcomed the willingness of the Western Balkan countries to sign, at tomorrow’s Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Berlin Process, the commitment to create a Common Regional Market and to adopt a shared regional environmental agenda. Mr. Scalfarotto stressed “Our hope is that our partners in the Western Balkans can contribute to the success of COP26 next year, under the joint presidency of Italy and the United Kingdom”.

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