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President of the Republic Borut Pahor, speaking at the Prespa Forum Dialogue in the light of the consequences of the war in Ukraine, calls for the necessity of the EU enlargement process to the Western Balkans

Ohrid, North Macedonia, 16. 6. 2022 | press release

President of the Republic of Slovenia Borut Pahor today addressed the Prespa Forum Dialogue in Ohrid as keynote speaker.

The Prespa Forum Dialogue is being held under the patronage of the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, Stevo Pendarovski, who invited President Pahor to attend the Forum as one of the keynote speakers. This year's Forum continues the substantive debate on the Western Balkans and its European future for which it was established last year.

President of the Republic Borut Pahor, speaking at the Prespa Forum Dialogue in the light of the consequences of the war in Ukraine, calls for the necessity of the EU enlargement process to the Western Balkans
Photo: Matjaž Klemenc/UPRS

President Borut Pahor took the floor at the high-level panel discussion "What next for the war in Ukraine?", which was attended by the host, President of the Republic of North Macedonia Stevo Pendarovski, President of Montenegro Milo Đukanović, President of the Republic of Croatia Zoran Milanović and President of the Republic of Kosovo Dr Vjosa Osmani. The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, also addressed the Forum via video.

The leaders of the countries of the region discussed European and regional security in the current geopolitical context marked by the war in Ukraine and the escalation of tensions in the region. They paid particular attention to the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries and the region's position in the contemporary European political and security architecture.

As a sincere supporter of the European perspective of the Western Balkan countries, the President of the Republic reiterated the importance of the early enlargement of the European Union to the Western Balkan countries. At the presidential panel, he elaborated on the content of the letter he sent to the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, today, in which he advocated that Bosnia and Herzegovina be granted the status of candidate for membership of the European Union without conditions. President Pahor is convinced that candidate status would strengthen pro-European forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina and accelerate the dynamics of internal alignment with European norms.

The President of the Republic said that concrete steps were needed to speed up the enlargement of the European Union to the Western Balkans as soon as possible, as speeding up the process would have a significant impact on strengthening security, stability and prosperity in the region. In this context, he called for an early end to Bulgaria's opposition to the opening of accession negotiations for the accession of North Macedonia to the European Union and welcomed North Macedonia's political willingness to find a solution as soon as possible.

President Pahor considered that the various forms of strengthening regional cooperation and all efforts towards good neighbourly relations were important levers for progress in the region. As the leader of the Brdo-Brijuni Process, President Pahor pays special attention to them.

Before the official opening of the Forum, President Pahor held a special bilateral meeting with the host, President of North Macedonia, Mr Stevo Pendarovski. The two Presidents and friends exchanged views on the current political and security issues facing Europe and the Western Balkans, as well as on the role of the Brdo-Brijuni Process initiative for the rapprochement of Northern Macedonia with the European Union, which Slovenia strongly supports.

On the margins of the Prespa Forum Dialogue, President Borut Pahor held talks with Rosemary DiCarlo, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs, on the situation in the Western Balkans, in particular in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and the war in Ukraine. President Pahor briefed UN Under-Secretary DiCarlo on his appeal to European Council President Michel to grant Bosnia and Herzegovina unconditional candidate status for EU membership and stressed the need to pay full attention to the situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The letter from the President of the Republic of Slovenia is attached below.

letter.pdf

President of the Republic Borut Pahor, speaking at the Prespa Forum Dialogue in the light of the consequences of the war in Ukraine, calls for the necessity of the EU enlargement process to the Western Balkans
Photo: Matjaž Klemenc/UPRS

President of the Republic Borut Pahor, speaking at the Prespa Forum Dialogue in the light of the consequences of the war in Ukraine, calls for the necessity of the EU enlargement process to the Western Balkans
Photo: Matjaž Klemenc/UPRS