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Slovenia strongly and consistently supports enhanced cooperation between the EU and the Western Balkans

Late this afternoon in Brussels, Slovenian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Tanja Fajon attended the EU-Western Balkans Ministerial Meeting gathering the EU's Foreign Ministers and their counterparts from six Western Balkan countries. The second joint meeting this year was aimed at deepening cooperation between the EU and the Western Balkan countries in the field of the Common Foreign and Security Policy.

"Slovenia supports enhanced cooperation between the Union and the Western Balkan countries in the area of Common Foreign and Security Policy. Together with Austria, the Czech Republic, Greece, Croatia, Italy and Slovakia, we have called for a roadmap for the gradual but accelerated integration of the Western Balkan countries. Among other things, we advocate that, once they have aligned their foreign and security policy with the European one, they should be able to participate as observers in our meetings. Only with strengthened ties will we be able to successfully tackle the challenges ahead – from disinformation and hybrid threats to illegal migration," said Minister Fajon on the sidelines of the meeting.

Minister Fajon reminded the Foreign Ministers on her arrival that Slovenia is extremely committed to finding alliances and support for the progress of the Western Balkans on the European path. Following the Enlargement Report presented by the European Commission last week, she called on both the Union and Bosnia and Herzegovina to step up all efforts "so that by the end of the year Bosnia and Herzegovina can start accession negotiations or at least get the green light, perhaps subject to conditions, at the beginning of next year." "Not only in the case of Bosnia and Herzegovina, but also when it comes to the other countries of the Western Balkans, Slovenia is very active and we are helping to the best of our ability," the Minister stressed.

On the sidelines of the EU-Western Balkans Ministerial Meeting, Minister Fajon met separately with the European Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Olivér Várhelyi. They agreed that there is a geostrategic window of opportunity for the Union's enlargement to the Western Balkans. "Slovenia will continue to strive for the progress made by the Western Balkan countries to be confirmed at the EU leaders' meeting in Brussels in December," the Minister said.