The United States is committed to supporting the countries of the Western Balkans on their path to European integration and membership in European and Euro-Atlantic institutions. “We are working with Western Balkan countries and our European partners to advance the governance, rule of law, and anti-corruption reforms, as well as the promotion of independent media and vibrant civil societies,” said State Department spokesperson Ned Price in a statement. This will advance the long-standing goal of a Europe whole, free, and at peace.
The United States is committed to helping the countries of the Western Balkans deepen their own regional economic partnerships, achieve their climate goals, counter Russia’s energy coercion through diversification and clean energy development, and combat corruption and organized crime. “We also want to help the region grow and prosper while protecting strategic infrastructure and industries against China’s malign practices,” noted spokesperson Price.
In addition to its strong economic ties to the region, the United States values its partnerships in the defense and security arenas, including with the newest NATO Allies, Montenegro and North Macedonia.
“We welcome the progress made by Albania and North Macedonia on critical reforms and continue to support the opening of European Union accession negotiations with both countries in June,” said Mr. Price.
The United States stands ready to support work towards a comprehensive, binding normalization agreement between Kosovo and Serbia, centered on mutual recognition, that lays the foundations for lasting cooperation and prosperity. “We support the EU-facilitated Dialogue and encourage the parties to reengage in this process with a sense of urgency to address both technical and political issues,” said spokesperson Price.
The United States is working with the international community to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in pursuing the reforms that will enable it to prosper and secure EU candidate status, including electoral reforms. The Office of the High Representative, or OHR, which was established 25 years ago under the Dayton Peace Agreement, has contributed significantly to peace and stability there.
Recent unwarranted speculation about changing borders in the Balkans along ethnic lines risks fostering instability in the region and evokes memories of past tensions, warned spokesperson Price. “A stable, prosperous future for the Western Balkans must be based on good governance, rule of law, multi-ethnic democracy, and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.”