Western Balkans 6 Ministerial Meeting Ministers of Foreign Affairs

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Western Balkans 6 Ministerial Meeting Ministers of Foreign Affairs
Western Balkans 6 Ministerial Meeting
Ministers of Foreign Affairs & Ministers of Energy
Skopje, 9 February 2017
Joint Statement of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs
As a follow up to the Western Balkans Summit held in Paris on 4 of July 2016 we, the Ministers
of Foreign Affairs of Western Balkans 6, met in Skopje, on 9 February 2017, to reaffirm our
commitment to regional cooperation and European integration and adopted the following Joint
Statement:
•
We remain strongly committed to the Berlin Process and to the regional connectivity
agenda as an important contributing factor for growth. We undertake to ensure
continuous progress in the fulfillment of the agreed measures at the July 2016 Paris
Conference and to producing further results until the Trieste Summit in July 2017;
•
We recall that focusing on investments, establishing and improving transport and energy
infrastructure strengthens the competitiveness of our Region as a whole and contributes
to fostering good neighborly relations and promoting peace and reconciliation in the
region;
•
We are fully committed to the realization of the Roadmap on Regional Market on
Electricity, as well as the Sustainability Charter and look forward to detailed discussion
on their implementation at the Trieste Summit;
•
We welcome today’s signature of two green energy market facilities for our Region REEP Plus - Regional Energy Efficiency Programme and GGF - Green for Growth Fund, as
an investment in sustainable development;
•
Recognizing the importance of accelerating the implementation of regional core
transport network with projects that reflect our regional priorities, we call for EU
support to mature projects of regional importance at the Trieste Summit;
•
We express our commitment for further Regional economic integration through
multiannual Action Plan as one of the deliverables of the Trieste Summit;
•
We commit to finalizing the preparations for the Transport Community Treaty with a
view to its signature at the Trieste Summit. We are looking at possible opening of the EU
transport market for economic operators from our Region;
•
Welcoming activities in celebration of the 30 years of Erasmus program at the Trieste
Summit, we confirm our commitment to the swift launching of the Regional Youth
Cooperation Office (RYCO) and its youth cooperation programs, including student
exchange;
•
We recognize regional cooperation as one of our common tools for matching European
standards and fulfilling EU accession criteria to the benefit of our citizens. With a view to
strengthening ownership of regional cooperation, we commit to fair and merit based
representation in regional cooperation initiatives;
•
We recall the joint appeal for exemption of our citizens from the European Travel
Information and Authorisation System, with a view to promoting free movement and
people to people contact with the EU. Our EU accession status, active contribution to
the regional and European security and stability, also with regard to the migration crisis,
underpin this joint appeal;
•
Reinforcing rule of law and anti-corruption efforts remain central to our EU accession
process, but also to the economic prosperity of our region and the wellbeing of our
citizens. We therefore welcome the new approach of the EU by opening chapters 23 and
24 at an early stage of negotiations and call for early start of screening in these rule of
law chapters; which could only give boost to the reform processes in these crucial areas;
•
Committed to use the dynamics created by the Berlin Process to speeding up our EU
accession process, we call on the European Commission and Member States to convene
an EU - Western Balkans Summit at the 15th anniversary of the Thessaloniki Summit’s
Agenda for the EU integration of the Western Balkans.
We express our appreciation to Commissioner Johannes Hahn for the continued support and
guidance on behalf of the European Commission.
We also express our appreciation to the Italian Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs
Vincenzo Amendola and the Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council Goran
Svilanovic, for their insight and support during the Meeting.

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