EU integration of the Western Balkans at the heart of Mitsotaki-Djukanovic meeting

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EU integration of the Western Balkans at the heart of Mitsotaki-Djukanovic meeting

The Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, had a meeting with the President of Montenegro, Milo Djukanovic, today at the Maximos Palace.

Mr Djukanovic is paying an official visit to Greece, Montenegro’s first head of state since independence in 2006.

During the meeting, the possibilities and prospects for further strengthening of the bilateral cooperation were discussed, with emphasis on the sectors of economy, trade, energy and tourism.

Kyriakos Mitsotakis underlined the firm support of Greece in the European perspective of the Western Balkans, while referring to the practical support of our country to Montenegro, by providing know-how for accession to the European Union.

The two leaders exchanged views on issues of regional and international interest, while the Prime Minister briefed his interlocutor on his upcoming visits to countries in the region.

Mr. Mitsotakis accepted the invitation of Mr. Juanovic to visit Montenegro in the near future.

At the beginning of the meeting of the enlarged delegations the two leaders had the following dialogue:

Kyriakos Mitsotakis: Mr. President, it is a great pleasure to welcome you to Greece, on the first visit of a Montenegrin head of state since the independence of your country.

And in our long one-on-one meeting we had the opportunity to reaffirm two constants: the first is the excellent quality of our bilateral relations but also the important prospects that open up, mainly in the economic field, and the second is that the position of the Western Balkans is in Europe.

Greece will continue to fight, to support the European perspective of the countries of the Western Balkans, obviously provided that all the necessary conditions are met, while recognizing that this perspective, of the European course of the Western Balkans, is absolutely necessary to ensure stability and prosperity in our wider region.

So with these few thoughts to welcome you again to Athens and I will be very happy in the extended discussions that we will have in a little while to discuss in more detail the further prospects of deepening our bilateral relations.

Milo Djukanovic: Mr. Prime Minister, I would first like to thank you for your warm words of hospitality and welcome. I want to assure you that my delegation and I personally feel very comfortable and beautiful in your friendly country. And regardless of the fact that this is the first official visit after the independence of our country, we must never forget the long tradition of friendship between our countries.

Last year we celebrated together the 140th anniversary of our bilateral relations – and the 15th anniversary of Montenegro’s re-declaration of independence. So together we celebrated – with the Greek ambassador who is in Montenegro – together we held some events, to celebrate not only the 140 years of bilateral relations, but also another great anniversary, the 200 years of Greek Independence.

I would also like to congratulate you on the effective management of the problems we have all faced. It is the problem of the pandemic. And of course Greece had to deal with the problem with the fires. And it is an opportunity to thank you for the help you sent us in the first phase of the fight against coronavirus, a large package of equipment.

We both had a very substantial and open dialogue a while ago. And since we have agreed I can say for everything that was said there, I do not think we need to continue with the same, except for two phrases that I want to add.

I want to assure you that Montenegro is determined for its future. That we must stand firm on the path to European integration in order to maintain stability and peace in the region.

And the second point I want to make is that the whole region of the Western Balkans needs support and assistance from Greece, especially in the negotiations with our partners in both the European Union and NATO, so that we can overcome a gap. which has obviously been created in the negotiations with the European Union. We all need this protection from Greece.

So we rely on Greece, because Greece as a friend and neighbor has a great understanding of our problems, understands what we need, what we face.

It also has influence in the European Union and can talk to partners and convince them that the Western Balkans region has no prospect of joining the European Union. We also talked about the internal issues in our country, so if you agree we can continue with some issues related to our bilateral cooperation.

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