Di Maio, Varhelyi mull Western Balkans, Mediterranean

Di Maio, Varhelyi mull Western Balkans, Mediterranean

Western Balkan nations' bid to join the European Union and Mediterranean migration were key topics in talks on Friday between Italy's foreign minister Luigi Di Maio and EU enlargement commissioner Oliver Varhelyi, the foreign ministry tweeted.

"Foreign minister Luigi Di Maio had a phone call with Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi on the Western Balkans accession process and on the Mediterranean, for a strategic policy focused on migration, health, environment," read the tweet.

The foreign ministry said Di Maio and Varhelyi focused on the stalled EU membership bids of Albania and Macedonia, which have been hoping to begin accession negotiations with the EU for over two years amid opposition from several northern European countries.

The impact of the Covid-pandemic on the region had "underlined the strong ties between the EU and the Western Balkans and the need for political as well as economic investment to support the European integration process," Italy's foreign under-secretary Ivan Scalfarotto said on Thursday.

Scalfarotto made the remarks at a webinar organised by Italian research institute ISPI.