INTEGRATION EU’s Borrell: The best way to overcome legacy of the past is to work together
EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell on Tuesday in his video address at the Sofia Summit of the Berlin Process called for the positive momentum to be maintained, including the opening of accession talks with Skopje and Tirana.
“The Western Balkans are at the heart of Europe, and their future is in the European Union. That is why our engagement has been, and remains, so strong,” Borrell said congratulating North Macedonia and Bulgaria for co-hosting, and greeting the Western Balkan partners involved in the Berlin Process.
COVID-19 challenges and consequences dominated in his speech.
Borrell recalled how much financial support the EU has provided to help the region handle the crisis, including through the Economic and Investment Plan, presented in October.
“You all know how much the European Union values its common market. It is one of our most important assets and in the run-up to this summit, I have been impressed by the sense of purpose you have shown in working to create a common market for the Western Balkans, to unlock the region’s economic potential and to make the region economically fit to join the European Union,” EU’s foreign policy chief said.
He urged that the recovery needs to be ‘sustainable and socially just.’
“This means aiming for green economic recovery and digital transformation of the economy and society. That is why the Economic and Investment Plan and the Green Agenda for the Western Balkans is focused on modern, green, people-focused investment,” said Borrell.
The investments, he stressed, need to be underpinned by the fundamental reforms required on the European path.
“Each partner in the region knows what needs to be done. Now – also with the welcome decision to open accession negotiations with Albania and with North Macedonia – is the time to keep the positive momentum and keep working. Working together, as we do in the European Union, is the best way to overcome the legacy of the past and to build a better future. It is a clear signal to our youth that we take their aspirations for green, peaceful, just and prosperous societies seriously,” EU’s High Representative Borrell concluded.