Trilateral Meeting Mladenov- Droutsas-Jeremic11 December 2010 News
Meeting the EU criteria, regional cooperation and good neighborly relations in the Balkans
Bulgaria and Greece, being EU member states, have the responsibility for the integration of Serbia and the Western Balkans into the European Union. This is the principal message from the trilateral meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the three countries- Nickolay Mladenov, Dimitris Droutsas and Vuk Jeremic in Sofia today.
The three Foreign Ministers signed a joint declaration in which they state that the future of the Western Balkans lies within the EU and that the European integration is the only way to achieve democracy, rule of law, stability and prosperity for all in South East Europe.
There are three important criteria for accession of Serbia and the other Western Balkan countries into the European family: reforms that meet the EU requirements; strengthening
the regional cooperation and good neighborly relations, said the Bulgarian Minister Nickolay Mladenov. According to him, the year 2011 would be important for the region, because all countries in the area will need to make important steps towards their EU integration. Nickolay Mladenov expressed hope that from 2011 the Western Balkans’ citizens will be able to travel without visas within the EU.
The Foreign Minister of Greece Dimitris Droutsas declared clear support for Serbia’s integration into the EU, and according to him the year 2014 would be a key one. Greece, which will take the EU Presidency in 2014, will be organizing an EU-Western Balkans Summit, which will enhance the process of European integration in the region.
The Serbian Foreign Minister Jeremic stated that Serbia supports the regional cooperation and will use it next year when the country will chair three regional organizations- SEECP, CEI and the Adriatic-Ionian initiative. The Serbian Minister expects that in 2011, Croatia will complete the integration process, and Serbia will be able to commence it.
The three Ministers agreed that the meetings in this format would become a tradition and the next one would be held in Athens in the first half of 2011.
This is the text of the declaration signed by the three Ministers.
TRILATERAL MEETING OF THE
MINISTERS OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS
OF BULGARIA - GREECE - SERBIA
Sofia, 11 December 2010
We, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia met in Sofia on 11th December 2010 to pursue our trilateral dialogue on the European future of South East Europe.
Trusting that the future of the Western Balkans lies within the EU;
Welcoming the efforts and achievements of all countries in the Western Balkans on the reform path, aiming to achieve compliance with EU standards and norms and pursue reconciliation and regional cooperation;
Reiterating that the European integration of the region is the only way for strengthening democracy and consolidating the rule of law, stability and prosperity for all in South East Europe;
Recognizing that all countries aspiring for EU membership must fully adhere to the values, principles and standards, as they stem from the Lisbon Treaty, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the acquis communautaire;
Acknowledging that strict compliance with all accession criteria and requirements remains a prerequisite for the successful European integration of all candidate and potential candidate countries;
Noting that the speed at which the countries move towards the EU accession should depend on their own achievements and progress in meeting the accession requirements as set by the EU;
Believing that regional cooperation and good neighbourly relations are inherent in the EU founding principles and values and remain essential components of the process of the European integration;
Welcoming the 8th November 2010 Council Decision to establish a visa-free regime for citizens of Albania and Bosnia & Herzegovina based on the progress made by these countries in implementing major relevant reforms;
Recognizing that the South East European Cooperation Process (SEECP) is the only authentic and regionally-owned political forum that brings together all countries of the region;
We agreed that we shall
• Work together to support the European integration of the Western Balkans;
• Support Serbia’s application to become a member of the EU, based on its continuous, consistent and irreversible progress in economic and political reform and on the fulfillment of the necessary conditions and requirements;
• Share the expertise in the field of European integration with the aim of assisting Serbia to further advance on its way to EU membership;
• Promote the Agenda 2014 as an initiative aiming at encouraging and mobilizing the countries aspiring to EU membership to reach tangible progress in the accession process within a feasible timetable, on the basis of a targeted road map;
• Undertake initiatives involving educational and research institutions, civil society, the media and other non-governmental actors, with the aim of raising the public awareness of the benefits of the European integration;
• Jointly promote stability, genuine reconciliation and good neighbourly relations in the region by working to overcome the legacies of the past through dialogue and cooperation. In this respect, we recognize the essential role of education, social development and cultural exchanges;
• Work for further development of cross-border cooperation in order to facilitate communication and strengthen prosperity of the cross-border regions through the realization of joint projects, including in the areas of fighting trans-border crime, development of local employment, labour market integration, education, culture, shared use of human resources;
• Further strengthen regional cooperation through complementarity and a practice of appropriate multilateral synergies within the SEECP on the basis of the principle of regional ownership. They would like to see the Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) more efficient and project oriented;
• Actively participate in regional cooperation initiatives, focusing on projects of common interest in the fields of transport, energy, environment and employment, in view of fostering economic development and improving the economic and energy security of the region;
• Coordinate our efforts for developing modern networks and infrastructure in energy, transport and telecommunication consistent with the Trans-European networks;
• Agree to meet regularly and discuss all issues of mutual interest that can contribute to the realization of the European perspective of the Western Balkans.
Adopted in Sofia, on 11th December 2010
Nickolay Mladenov Dimitris Droutsas Vuk Jeremic
Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of Foreign Affairs Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Republic of Bulgaria of the Hellenic Republic of the Republic of Serbia