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Slavkov trilateral group aims to bring the Western Balkans closer to the EU

At the initiative of Austria, a video conference in the Slavkov or “Austerlitz” format was held today. It was attended by the Foreign Ministers of Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Ivan Korčok and Tomáš Petříček, as well as the Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva representing the current Presidency of the Council of the EU.

We all agreed that 2021 must not be another lost year for the Western Balkans’ rapprochement to  the European Union. Without  theinclusion of this region in our immediate neighbourhood, the EU remains incomplete,

emphasized Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

For the credibility of the EU, it is crucial that accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia can begin quickly. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg also stressed that the EU must not overlook the countries in the Eastern Neighbourhood either, commenting that this is essential for a prosperous and secure Europe.

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg congratulated the Portuguese EU Council Presidency on the work achieved so far, despite the challenging context. With regard to the current challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the focus was placed on vaccines and the idea of a digital “green pass”, which would enable a return to  safe travel this summer. On 17 March, the European Commission is due to present its proposal for this type of EU health certificate, which is supported by the four Foreign Ministers. The Portuguese EU Presidency also announced the imminent start of the Conference on the Future of Europe, and pointed to the upcoming discussions on the external aspects of migration.

The trilateral group  consisting of Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic was founded in Slavkov (German name Austerlitz) at the end of January 2015. The aim of the trilateral group is to improve cooperation between the three member countries. Austria has held the one-year chairmanship since July 2020.

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