The Balkans Deserve This

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos

From Hillary Clinton, Catherine Ashton and Miguel Angel Moratinos; the Guardian:  On Wednesday the EU Spanish presidency will host a ministerial meeting in Sarajevo attended by senior leaders from EU member states, the western Balkans, the US, Russia and Turkey to reaffirm our shared commitment to the security of the Balkans through integration into European and Euro-Atlantic institutions. Integrating the western Balkans remains one of the last challenges to building a democratic and unified Europe. …

As we have seen in the past two decades, the perspective of integration into the EU and Nato is a powerful driver of reform, economic prosperity and the rule of law. It means a seat at the table in European decisions, free movement of goods and people and a guarantee of security. The reforms required are also transformative. The people of the region want and deserve transparency and accountability in their governments, a level playing field for business and the opportunity to raise their children in peace and security. This is also what we want for them. …

The leaders of the Balkans will have our full support as they confront the challenges of reform. Beyond complying with the political and economic Copenhagen criteria, they must commit to reconciliation among ethnic and religious communities and political groups to build a new national consensus.

The EU and the US have spared no effort in the course of these months to tackle the many fronts in the process of stabilising and "Europeanising" the Balkans, and anchoring the rule of law and good governance. The Obama administration is committed to remain engaged in the region through completion of our shared vision. 

Hillary Clinton is the US secretary of state; Catherine Ashton is the high representative of the European Union for foreign affairs and security policy; Miguel Angel Moratinos is Spain’s minister of foreign affairs.  (photo: AP)

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