Informal EU meeting/ Minister Xhaçka: Western Balkans should not become a collateral damage of the crisis in Ukraine

The Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania, Mrs. Olta Xhaçka, participated in the informal meeting of the Council of Foreign Affairs of the European Union with the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Western Balkans, in Brussels, at the invitation of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Mr. Josep Borrell.
The aim of the meeting was to hold a strategic debate on the Western Balkans, among the Foreign Ministers of all EU member states and those of the Western Balkan countries, on the new challenges posed by Russian aggression against Ukraine.
In her speech, Minister Xhaçka highlighted Albania’s progress in the European integration process, as well as the commitment of the Albanian government in the further implementation of reforms related to the European agenda. Albania, she stressed, is an ally and reliable partner of the European Union in terms of foreign and security policy, it always aligned with the decisions and statements of the European Union in this area.
During her intervention, the Chief Diplomat stressed that the way Albania has reacted to the current geopolitical situation has further raised the values of our country in the eyes of Euro-Atlantic partners. The Western Balkans region should not be allowed to become a collateral damage to the crisis in Ukraine, but should be included in joint European initiatives to address the challenges ahead.
Meanwhile, the decision to set the date of the first intergovernmental conference between Albania and the EU, according to Minister Xhaçka, would be the only way to maintain the transformative power of the EU in the region, to maintain high civic support for the EU integration process, as well as to increase the ability to cope with the influence of third actors.
During the discussions the participants underlined the importance of the relations between the EU and the Western Balkans, agreeing on the fact that the full integration of the Western Balkans into the European Union is a priority and an important security, economic and geostrategic investment for the European Union itself

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