Support Western Balkan countries in their integration into the EU and other possible EU responses to Russian aggression in Ukraine. These are the topics that Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský addressed on Friday June 23, 2023 at the European Forum in Wachau, Austria. Together with the foreign ministers of Croatia, Austria and Slovakia, he also signed the Declaration of Friends of the Western Balkans.
“The EU needs more courage to view the integration of the Western Balkan countries as an opportunity for the future. In the same way, the Western Balkan countries need more courage to carry out all the reforms needed to join the EU.” said Minister Lipavsky during the panel on EU enlargement: keeping the Western Balkans on the agenda.
The Wachau European Forum is one of the most important European and foreign policy events in Austria. The theme of this year’s 27th edition is “Building a resilient, green and competitive Europe”. The Forum brings together politicians, government representatives, representatives of the business world and the media.
Today, Minister Lipavský, together with Croatian Foreign Minister Gordan Grlić Radman, Austrian Minister Alexander Schallenberg and Slovak Minister Miroslav Wlachovský, signed a declaration highlighting the key nature of the region for the EU, calling for acceleration of the accession process and opportunities to deepen cooperation. Slovenia, Greece and Italy also joined the statement.
“We need to be in constant contact with the Western Balkan countries, we need to talk to them. This is why we will go to Skopje in July with our colleagues from the Slavkov format. This will be our third joint trip, after the summer trip to Ukraine and in Moldova”, Lipavský added.
On the sidelines of the forum, the head of Czech diplomacy met his Croatian counterpart, Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Gordan Grlic Radman. They confirmed the support of the Czech Republic and Croatia for Ukraine, discussed the situation in the Western Balkans and briefly discussed the summer tourist season, where Croatia is once again one of the most popular destinations this year. most popular among Czech citizens.