EU foreign policy chief to visit Belgrade again
Federica Mogherini will visit the Western Balkan region next week, the EU announced on Friday.Source: Beta, Tanjug
According to a press release posted on the EU External Action Service website, the high representative for foreign affairs and security policy will travel to the Western Balkans April-19, and will visit "Albania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia."
The visit will follow the discussion on the Western Balkans in the Foreign Affairs Council on April 16 in Luxembourg and the adoption of the enlargement package that will be presented by her together with Commissioner Johannes Hahn in Strasbourg on April 17, and the publication of the Western Balkans Strategy in February, and comes a month before the European Union-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia on May 17, the statement added.
"The Western Balkans are Europe and will be part of the European Union's future, of a stronger, stable and united Union. It is a matter of a shared interest and a shared responsibility with the countries of the region for the benefit of all our citizens. This is the moment to deliver positive change in order to make irreversible and transformative progress towards the EU," Mogherini is quoted as saying ahead of the visit.
The EU announced that she would meet with political authorities, including representatives of governments and of political parties, and will on April 18 in Skopje attend an informal gathering of the prime ministers of the Western Balkans partners.
Also on Friday, media reports said that the European Council announced the trip, and stressed that Mogherini "supports all six partners from the Western Balkans in making progress on the road to the EU," and that during the visit, she will state that she "wants all six partners to progress in all areas on their road to the EU."
Diplomatic sources in Brussels told Tanjug that Mogherini will visit Tirana, Podgorica, Belgrade, and Skopje, and should arrive in Belgrade on April 19.
Mogherini was previously in the Serbian capital on March 27, when she met with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, where she arrived on her way back from a conference in Tashkent. The high-ranking EU official and Vucic discuses the future of the dialogue with Pristina after the arrest in Kosovo of Marko Djuric, the director of the Serbian Government's Office for Kosovo and Metohija.
Serbian officials said at the time that by visiting only Belgrade and not Pristina, Mogherini showed "whom she supported" - i.e., that this was Belgrade.