The Slovenia Times

Erjavec stresses importance of arbitration in Balkans at Visegrad meet


Erjavec told the STA that the future of the Western Balkans, especially in terms of EU enlargement, had been in the centre of the meeting, attended by the Visegrad Group, Western Balkan countries, as well as Slovenia, Croatia, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Italy.

"It was shown that Slovenia has been right in its persistent warnings that the Balkans is far from stabilised and that the Brdo-Brijuni Process was and remains urgently necessary," he said.

He noted tensions between the Serbian and Kosovo foreign ministers, pointing out that Serbia's Ivica Dačić had even left the meeting early.

Tensions could also be felt between the Macedonian and Greek representatives, with the closing declaration containing the name of Macedonia, which continues to be opposed by Greece.

In his address, Erjavec pointed to tensions between Slovenia and Croatia, especially with regard to the agreement on border arbitration and Croatia's refusal to respect the pending ruling of the arbitration tribunal.

"Respecting the arbitration ruling is key for resolving other border issues in the region," Erjavec said, pointing out Croatia also had open border issues with Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Erjavec hailed the presence of the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini at the meeting, arguing it would hard to reach any major progress without the help of EU members and the high representative.

He explained the closing declaration of the meeting had been adopted exclusively by the four Visegrad members - the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - and had not been coordinated with the remaining participants.

The German Press Agency (DPA) reported the group had called for a faster inclusion of the Western Balkans in the EU, as this would provide security, stability and prosperity.

Erjavec also had a bilateral meeting with Polish counterpart Witold Waszczykowski, with whom they were happy to establish that trade between Slovenia and Poland had risen to almost EUR 1.5bn last year. Erjavec invited Waszczykowski to pay an official visit to Slovenia.


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