Mogherini to visit the Balkans amid growing political turmoil

Tirana Echo – Federica Mogherini, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, will travel to the Western Balkans from 1 to 4 March. She will visit Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, and Macedonia.

Mogherini’s visit comes at a turbulent time for the region as Albania is going through a developing political crisis with the opposition demanding the PM’s resignation,  Macedonia is still waiting to have a new government after last year’s elections while Bosnia is landlocked in a stalemate without any clear perspective.

Ahead of the visit the High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini said: “For the European Union the work with the Western Balkans, a region in the heart of Europe, is a key priority. I work to see every single one of the Western Balkans partners move forward on the reform path, towards the European Union, to ensure the process is irreversible. Regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations remain essential in this context.”

However, Mogherini’s wishes for a success story from the Western Balkans may receive a huge blow as no country is truly making substantial democratic progress to convince already tired EU member states to push forward with further enlargement. This year the Netherlands, France and Germany will hold elections amid fears of rising populist and right wing political alternatives, which are highly critical of eastern countries joining the Union.

During her visit to the region, the High Representative/Vice-President Mogherini will meet with political authorities, including representatives of governments, of political parties and of Parliaments. She will brief EU Foreign Ministers on the visit at the 6 March Foreign Affairs Council.

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