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EU admission of the Western Balkans "is a priority for the German government"

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) has confirmed the admission of the Western Balkan countries to the European Union as a priority for the federal government.

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EU admission of the Western Balkans "is a priority for the German government"

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) has confirmed the admission of the Western Balkan countries to the European Union as a priority for the federal government. "At this moment, when the European peace order is being attacked more severely than it has been for decades," Baerbock said in English on Friday at the start of the Western Balkans Conference in Berlin that it was crucial to bring all the countries of the Western Balkans region into the EU. "This is a priority for the German government."

Baerbock meets with the foreign ministers of the Western Balkans as part of the so-called Berlin Process; this process is intended to bring the Balkan states closer to the EU. According to the Federal Foreign Office, the meeting is primarily about taking concrete steps to improve regional cooperation in the Western Balkans, especially with a view to creating a common regional market.

In this regard, Baerbock mentioned three planned regional mobility agreements between six Western Balkan countries. In negotiations led by the Federal Government's special envoy for the countries of the Western Balkans, Manuel Sarrazin (Greens), six states have committed themselves to concluding three agreements, she explained. These agreements would allow citizens to cross the region's borders with just ID cards, universities would recognize academic degrees from each other, and employers would recognize professional qualifications.

"These are historic steps that are changing people's lives," said Baerbock. With the agreements, for example, young Kosovars and Bosnians could visit each other without a visa, Albanian students with a bachelor's degree could continue their studies in North Macedonia or a Serbian architect could work in Montenegro. "Taken together, these agreements pave the way for a common regional market for the Western Balkans," said the Foreign Minister.

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