Comment 24 May 17

Mogherini Must Build on West’s Balkan Breakthroughs

The EU and US must follow up their recent successes in knocking heads together in Macedonia and Albania – or the region’s descent into a dangerous crisis will continue.

Srecko Latal

Federica Mogherini is hosting an informal dinner for six West Balkan leaders on Wednesday in Brussels. Photo: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

Encouraged by recent breakthroughs in Albania and Macedonia, but still disturbed by the ethnic, political and economic problems across the Balkans, the EU’s foreign and security policy chief Federica Mogherini is hosting an informal dinner for six West Balkan leaders on Wednesday in Brussels.

The event, widely seen as yet another attempt to stabilise an unstable region, will be attended by Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama, his Bosnian counterpart, Denis Zvizdic, Kosovo’s outgoing Prime Minister, Isa Mustafa, Macedonia’s Prime Minister-designate, Zoran Zaev, Montenegro’s Prime Minister, Dusko Markovic, and Serbia’s outgoing Prime Minister and President-elect, Aleksandar Vucic.

The meeting takes place after Balkan leaders - including some of those dining with Mogherini - called for the rejuvenation of the EU accession process and even warned that Balkan borders could be redrawn in its absence.

It also follows calls by local and international experts for EU officials to abandon their mild tones, optimistic, vague and unrealistic proclamations and actions, and face the ugly reality of the various Balkan crises with tough words and even tougher actions, if need be.

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