G7 Ministers warn against speculation about border changes in Western Balkans

NEWS 06.05.2021 16:35
Source: Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS

The Foreign and Development Ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) and the European Union High Representative called Belgrade and Pristina to normalize their relations with an agreement and warned that the challenges in the Western Balkans cannot be resolved through speculation about border changes.

“We urge Kosovo and Serbia to engage constructively in negotiations in the framework of the EU-facilitated dialogue and to normalize fully their relations through a comprehensive and legally-binding agreement which contributes to regional stability,” the G7 Ministers said in a statement after their meeting in London.

The statement warned that “unwarranted speculation about border changes along ethnic lines is no solution to the challenges faced by the region”. “Such changes would constitute a threat to regional security,” it said and “firmly rejected” attempts to undermine the territorial integrity of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

“We support the implementation of the reform agenda related to the EU accession negotiations with Montenegro and Serbia. We call on the countries in the region to expand domestic political space and improve the environment for civil society and independent media,” the statement said.

The ministers also reaffirmed their shared commitment to the security, economic recovery and European perspective of the six Western Balkans countries as a crucial investment for peace and stability. “ We emphasise the importance of advancing the necessary internal reforms, in particular on rule of law, including tackling organized crime, illicit finance and corruption, with tough action taken against the most egregious case,” the ministers said and lent support to the formal opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia.

We support further progress on regional cooperation especially through the Common Regional Market, Green Agenda for the Western Balkans and Berlin Process.