Durres: Deputy Prime Minister Lukšić participates at the meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Western Balkans
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Igor Lukšić participated at the meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Western Balkans held on 30-31 March in Durres. In addition to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, event participants were EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council Goran Svilanovic, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic Lubomir Zaoralek as chairmain in office of the Visegrad Group (V4), Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Norway Børge Brende, French Secretary of State Harlem Desir, and the Italian Undersecretary for Foreign Affairs Vincenzo Amendola.
The ministerial meeting discussed the activities on implementing the conclusions of the Vienna Summit, the state of play of the regional interconnection agenda, and joint activities on defining the steps related to the upcoming Paris Summit. The emphasis was put on the so-called soft measures in the areas of transport and energy. The officials exchanged opinions on the cooperation in the V4 region and the process of ratifying the agreement on the opening of the Western Balkan Fund and the measures required for its launch. They also discussed the Regional Youth Cooperation Office, as well as cooperation within other regional mechanisms, such as MARRI, ReSPA, and RCC. The ministers exchanged views on the current issue of migration flow through the Western Balkans, and noted that the region is a strategic partner for the EU on the issue of migration.
Deputy Prime Minister Lukšić underlined the importance of joint activities for accelerating the economic recovery of the region through project-based cooperation within the Western Balkans Six / Berlin Process. He said that Montenegro has adopted the single list of priority infrastructure projects to be realised until 2030 and noted that it is working on preparing the relevant documentation in order to ensure as quick as possible start of the projects. He also informed the participants that Montenegro has proposed 11 projects to be funded through the Western Balkans Investment Framework in the areas of transport, energy, social matters, and environment. He also noted that Montenegro is successfully implementing the planned measures for removing trade barriers in the areas of transport and energy, in accordance with the agreement from the last year’s Western Balkans Six Summit in Vienna. Mr Lukšić reiterated the importance of launching as soon as possible the Tirana Secretariat of the Western Balkans Fund, as an important regional instrument for the six countries’ project-based cooperation in several sectoral areas with the support of the Visegrad Group. He noted in particular the importance of stepping up the activities and using the capacities of the Regional School for Public Administration (ReSPA) in Danilovgrad, and he informed the participants about the activities of Montenegro’s chairmanship of the Migration, Asylum, Refugees Regional Initiative (MARRI), and emphasised the contribution the Secretariat of the RCC working group on culture and society in Cetinje has made during its four-year activity.
The ministers adopted the Joint Statement reiterating readiness to cooperate further on the interconnection agenda and the issues of shared interest.
At the sidelines of the event, DPM Lukšić held bilateral meetings with all participants and presented his candidacy for the role of the UN Secretary-General.