On Sept. 20, in the margins of the U.N. General Assembly in New York, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Police Josep Borrell hosted an informal lunch for the leaders of the Western Balkans.
The sit-down was attended by the prime ministers of Montenegro and Albania, Dritan Abazovic and Edi Rama respectively, as well as by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani, Chairman of the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina Sefik Dzaferovic and North Macedonia’s Prime Minister Dimitar Kovacevski.
According to the European External Action Service (EEAS), the meeting focused on “the global and regional impact of Russia’s illegal and unprovoked war against Ukraine” as well as on “how to jointly address the damaging consequences of this war on food and energy prices and on stability and security in Europe and globally.”
Borell took the opportunity to emphasize the support the EU has provided to the Western Balkans to help the region enhance its energy security and guard against hybrid threats, including cyber-attacks and “foreign information manipulation and interference.” “The EU and the Western Balkans will continue to stand together in facing the challenges that Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine imposes globally. The EU fully associates the Western Balkans to its initiatives to mitigate the impacts of the war,” the EEAS statement reads.
The press release further explained that the Sept. 20 informal gathering was one of two that take place annually, once in New York and once in Brussels, where the leaders of the Western Balkans are invited to “exchange views about the challenges in the region and about the region’s European future.”