German FM: Belgrade – Pristina agreement would have positive impact on region

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Source: REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass said on Wednesday the agreement between Serbia and Kosovo would have a positive impact on the path of the entire Western Balkans towards the European Union's membership.

Opening the international online conference „Youth, Migration and the Demographic Challenge in the Western Balkans“, Mass added that there was no alternative to a comprehensive legally binding agreement between Belgrade and Pristina and that such a step required strong political leadership.

„I am convinced the leaders in Belgrade and Pristina will prove it and open the door to a new era. That would significantly contribute to the stability of the entire region,“ Mass said.

He praised the work of the EU Special Representative for the Dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, Miroslav Lajčák, during whose mandate negotiations resumed after a 20-month standstill.

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the Dayton Agreement that ended the 1992-1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Mass said there was no place in the EU for countries that denied war crimes.

„This also applies to Bosnia and Herzegovina. In a country which wants to join the EU, there is no room for nationalist propaganda, for denying war crimes or for glorifying war criminals,“ Mass said.

During the conference’s first panel attended by the foreign ministers of the Western Balkans or their deputies, European Commissioner for Enlargement Olivér Várhelyi reiterated the EU remained committed to the Western Balkans.

He said the new EU economic and investment plan for the Western Balkans should provide economic growth, new jobs, better opportunities for young people and make the region more attractive for investments.