Foreign Minister attends Western Balkans Summit in London

Press briefing by the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs Spokesperson (excerpt)

Paris, 9 July 2018

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Balkans – Western Balkans Summit (London, 10 July 2018)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, will represent President Macron at the annual summit of the Berlin Process devoted to the Western Balkans, which will take place in London on 10 July and bring together eight EU countries (Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Slovenia and the United Kingdom) and six Western Balkan countries (Albania, Bosnia and Hercegovina, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia).

France has participated in this process since it was launched in 2014, and it hosted the summit in 2016. The political dialogue initiated on that occasion between several EU member states and the Western Balkans countries, as well as the concrete projects launched in order to revitalize trade, support young people and resolve bilateral disputes, contribute to that region’s lasting stabilization, economic and social development and closer ties with Europe.

The Minister will discuss France’s contribution to the fight against the trafficking of small arms and light weapons in the Western Balkans region thanks to a French-German initiative currently being implemented and, more broadly, our commitment, in cooperation with the countries of the region, to combating security threats. He will underline France’s support for reconciliation between the countries and people of the Western Balkans, notably through the Regional Youth Cooperation Office (RYCO), established on the basis of the Franco-German Youth Office (OFAJ).

The Minister will reaffirm France’s position, which is in line with the conclusions of the European Council of 28 June and consists in acknowledging and fostering the Western Balkans’ prospect of a future in Europe. The opening of membership negotiations with these countries must take into account the progress that has to be made on certain points identified by the European Commission, on one hand, and the updating of the EU’s operating rules, on the other.

Jean-Yves Le Drian will indicate our full support for the implementation of the agreement recently concluded between Greece and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia concerning the latter’s name, and will call on the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo to continue their efforts to reach a comprehensive agreement on normalizing their relations. (…)./.

Published on 11/07/2018

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