The Western Balkans are "a priority" for Italy's government, which wants to revitalise cooperation in all sectors, foreign minister Antonio Tajani told counterparts from the region.
“The Western Balkans region is a priority for Italy," Tajani told Western Balkan counterparts at talks on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.
"Our countries share deep historical ties and we want to further relaunch cooperation in all sectors, starting with the economic one”, Tajani said.
The Italian government is seeking dialogue and taking an "open and inclusive" approach to the "challenges of the region", Tajani added.
The Balkan region's stability, its European Union entry and joint action to better fight illegal immigration and human trafficking are a priority, Tajani told foreign ministers from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia.
“The Government considers the European integration of the Western Balkans to be of great importance. We are committed to accelerating this process also through gradual integration measures”, said Tajani.
A EU-Western Balkans summit slated for December in Brussels will offer an opportunity for dialogue aimed at giving "new impetus" to the European enlargement process "with a definite time horizon", he said.
Tajani has suggested setting up a 'Friends of the Western Balkans' working group in both New York and Brussels with the specific aim of aiding the European integration of the region, the minister noted.
The minister has also suggested organising Western Balkans ministerial meetings twice a year "to hold regular discussions on issues of common interest," he said.
For the first time, Tajani invited the Western Balkans ministers to take part in the annual 'Med Dialogues' forum taking place from 2-4 November in Rome.
It is the first time that the annual meeting on the enlarged Mediterranean has been extended to include the Western Balkan countries.