ATHENS — Greece steadfastly supports the European course of the Western Balkans, Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said on Friday after his meeting with his Bosnia-Herzegovina counterpart, Dr. Bisera Turkovic, in Sarajevo.
"In a few years, we could envisage a Union in which at least a quarter of its members are the Balkan countries. This would have been inconceivable 30 years ago," he said.
"Our commitment is long-term. It is reflected in the Thessaloniki Agenda that was approved in 2003. We remain fully committed to this process because we believe that it is the only path toward peace, stability and prosperity in the region and in the EU as a whole," Dendias added.
The foreign minister underlined the importance of good neighbourly relations based on international law, noting that this fundamental principle was supported by most "though unfortunately not all" the countries in the wider region.
He said that all the countries of the region must ultimately join the EU, though always on the basis of meeting certain conditionalities, such as alignment with EU positions and decisions, including those concerning the Eastern Mediterranean.
Dendias said the discussion with Turkovic had also focused on ways to further boost bilateral cooperation on all levels, starting with political dialogue, while noting that his visit was the first by a Greek foreign minister to Sarajevo in five years.
Among others, he said the EU must help the Western Balkan countries in coping with the pandemic, announcing that Greece will provide financial support to three hospitals in the country.
Turkovic expressed gratitude to Greece for its support in rebuilding Bosnia-Herzegovina and of the country's EuroAtlantic prospects, while noting that this must be a priority for the EU as well. She said that bilateral relations with Greece were good but "can always be improved and asked for EU support in dealing with migration pressure.