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Oct 12, 2017

V4 stands firmly behind plans to expand the EU to include the countries of the western Balkans

Poland’s head of diplomacy said the V4 backed all EU integration endeavors and an open-door policy

The Visegrad Group (V4) stands firmly behind plans to expand the European Union to include the countries of the western Balkans.

Following a meeting of V4 diplomats, along with counterparts from the western Balkans, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia and Romania, Witold Waszczykowski, Poland’s head of diplomacy said the V4 backed all EU integration endeavors and an open-door policy.

According to MTI, Ivan Korčok, Slovakia’s foreign ministry state secretary, said the V4 was leading the calls for enlargement, and the issue “should not fall to the periphery of European Union interest.” V4 member states will guarantee that the countries of the western Balkan remain a part of Europe, he added.

While Jakub Dürr, Czech’s deputy foreign minister, said the V4 were clearly open to the issue of EU enlargement. Without the western Balkans, neither the EU nor NATO would be complete, he said.

Ekaterina Zakharieva, Bulgaria’s foreign minister, said her country would give priority to the security and integration of the western Balkan region during her EU presidency in the first half of 2018.

Josip Brkić, deputy foreign minister of Bosnia and Herzegovina, said that “if the EU were unwilling to speed up the accession process, that would bring serious problems on both sides.” Bosnia and Herzegovina hopes to obtain the status of candidate member during the Bulgarian EU presidency, he said.