Southeast Europe Foreign Ministers Conference
Reception at Villa Borsig on the eve of the 5th Southeast Europe Foreign Ministers Conference, 22 November 2012
© photothek / Trutschel
On 23 November Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle and his Hungarian counterpart János Martonyi hosted a conference in Berlin for foreign ministers of the countries of the Western Balkans.
Prospect of EU accession most important engine for reform and cooperation
Europe was a community of shared values, Foreign Minister Westerwelle noted in Berlin. It was “a community of freedom, peaceful cooperation and prosperity”. He emphasized how important the prospect of EU accession was for the countries of the Western Balkans.
“Every time the European Union has enlarged, its new members have experienced the benefits of the European culture of collaboration and peaceful cooperation. That’s what makes the European idea so attractive to the countries of the Western Balkans. That’s what people in the region yearn for. And that’s also the most important driver of reform. Germany remains committed to a European future for all countries in the region. Radical reforms will be required. There is still a great deal of work to be done. A start has been made. Further action is needed both on the domestic front and in the way countries in the region deal with one another. All this will need time and patience. If we pull together, however, I’m confident we’ll succeed.”
Foreign Minister Westerwelle and his Hungarian counterpart Janós Martonyi in Berlin, 22 November 2012
© Honorarfrei verwendbar unter Angabe des Copyrights: photothek / Trutschel
In a jointly written article, Westerwelle and Martonyi highlight the importance of a European future for the region and take stock of progress made to date and the challenges that lie ahead. They emphasize that “after the bloody hostilities in the 1990s, the enlargement process made a crucial contribution towards peace and stability in the region.”
The Southeast Europe Foreign Ministers Conference was founded by the Aspen Institute in 2008. It provides ministers from the Western Balkan countries, its German and Hungarian hosts as well as representatives of the Turkish and US Governments with a platform for a public discussion and a forum for confidential and informal debate on the current challenges facing Southeast Europe. Today’s meeting is hosted by the Embassy of Hungary in Germany and the Director of the Aspen Institute Germany. The Federal Foreign Office and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary are cooperation partners.
Last updated 23.11.2012