Austria’s Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg took part in the Northern Adriatic Trilateral Meeting at the invitation of his Italian counterpart. The meeting was also attended by the Foreign Ministers of Italy, Antonio Tajani, Croatia, Gordan Grlić Radman, and Slovenia’s Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon. The talks focused on important issues such as the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the rapprochement of the Western Balkans with the EU, and the fight against illegal migration.
Austria’s Foreign Minister Schallenberg stressed the importance of neighborhood and regional cooperation. Austria is strongly engaged in various regional cooperation formats such as the Slavkov-3 or Central-5 format. He stressed that only joint action can overcome current challenges such as the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. He said that the unity of the EU is its strength, while cracks in the Kremlin’s framework are becoming visible in Russia. He said the European Union had reacted quickly and unitedly in this critical situation, which sent an important signal. The EU has stood by Ukraine’s side for more than 500 days.
In addition to the focus on the east, the southeast must not be neglected, said Foreign Minister Schallenberg. The Western Balkans must not be left behind while Ukraine makes progress, he said. Austria would continue to play a leading role and stand up for the countries of the Western Balkans. This, he said, was in Austria’s very own interest.
The Foreign Minister stressed the importance of a reliable partnership with the countries of the Western Balkans. As part of the “Friends of the Western Balkans” group initiated by Austria, their counterparts from Italy, Croatia and Slovenia agreed with Foreign Minister Schallenberg. It is important to create concrete, credible, and realistic perspectives for the Western Balkans, he said, and this is above all in line with the classic line of Austrian foreign policy with its focus on the Western Balkans.
Closer cooperation on migration
The foreign ministers of Italy, Slovenia, and Croatia announced yesterday at a meeting in Ancona, as part of the cooperation between the countries of the northern Adriatic, that they will work more closely together in the future in the fight against illegal migration.
As part of this cooperation, the countries plan to conduct a joint search and rescue exercise in the Adriatic in the fall. This is intended to prevent refugee tragedies. At a press conference with her counterparts Antonio Tajani of Italy and Gordan Grlic Radman of Croatia, Slovenian Foreign Minister Tanja Fajon stressed that the sea should not be a graveyard and that they want to take a humanitarian approach in the fight against irregular migration.
The increase in migration flows along the Balkan route is a concern for the ministers, and they believe that the fight against smugglers requires a joint European effort, Fajon said.
Source : Vindobona