Four Western Balkan countries, but not Serbia, on Wednesday, launched the new Western Balkans QUAD- 100% Alignment with EU Common Foreign Security Policy (CFSP) platform aimed at ensuring full alignment with the EU acquis on security and foreign policy matters.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani, together with the Albanian Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, Olta Xhaçka, Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Kreshnik Ahmeti, and the foreign policy advisor of the Montenegrin Prime Minister, Đorđe Radulović, launched the new initiative taking into account recent developments with Ukraine and Russia.
“After the Russian aggression on Ukraine, alignment with the CFSP, but even beyond that, with the positions and values of the democratic world, has become one of the most important priorities of the aspiring EU member states, but also as a clear message for where these countries belong,” stressed Osmani at the meeting, MIA.mk reported.
The group will focus on the EU’s foreign and security policy, particularly the energy crisis, economic consequences caused by the war, and hybrid threats.
Osmani said he was happy about establishing the informal QUAD forum, adding that each of the involved countries has demonstrated they have trusted partners of NATO and the EU, by aligning with sanctions and providing humanitarian and technical assistance to Ukraine.
Osmani informed the interlocutors about the upcoming reforms, noting that “there is no deviation” from the European path of North Macedonia, “a country known for its multi-ethnic democracy and cohesion, which was also confirmed by the decision to host the recently held negotiations between Kosovo and Serbia in Ohrid”.
It was also noted that “the common strategic goal of all countries that have managed to achieve full compliance with EU decisions is full integration into the Union.”
The region is home to another collaborative initiative, Open Balkan, between Albania, Serbia and North Macedonia, which aims to facilitate the free and easy movement of trade and people throughout the region. Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina are not a part of the initiative, fearing it may hamper their EU ambitions and also due to concerns regarding Serbia.
There was no announcement or indication of why Serbia was absent from the initiative. So far, Serbia has refused to align itself with most of the EU and US sanctions against Russia, leading to sharp criticism from Brussels.
(Alice Taylor | Exit.al)