Appreciating the cooperation between Visegrad Four and Western Balkans
Budapest (31 October) – Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle took part in the meeting of the Foreign Ministers from the countries of the Visegrad Four and Western Balkans in Budapest on Wednesday and Thursday. This is what he said at the final press conference: “There is no enlargement fatigue in this group and to be sincere I have failed to see the enlargement fatigue it in the rest of the EU member states. Now, I would make four points on what we discussed.
First – I am very grateful to the Visegrad Four countries for helping the European Commission to keep and strengthen the momentum of enlargement, in particular so shortly after we published the latest Progress reports.
Second - I consider it extremely important that at the time when enlargement becomes a more and more political process the Visegrad Four countries make concrete contribution to strengthening the transformative power of enlargement and helping the Commission to strengthen the credibility of this process.
Third - I value specifically the fact that whatever messages are shared behind the table between V4 and Western Balkan countries they are being conveyed to Brussels to the Member States. And whatever is discussed in Brussels in the framework of the Foreign Affairs, Council, General Affairs Council, European Council and other formats, it is then being conveyed through Visegrad group to the Western Balkan partners, this is extremely helpful.
Fourth – in those meetings I always look for support but also for inspiration and encouragement. Those are very important because the enlargement - despite being marked as one of the most successful EU policies - is far from being on autopilot. It needs all the political support, it needs us to take very seriously the concerns of the European citizens as well as concerns and wishes of the people in the candidate countries. It requires us to politically support this process on a daily basis and to take the lessons learnt from the previous waves of enlargements very seriously.”