Officials from four Western Balkan countries – Albania, Kosovo, Montenegro and North Macedonia – have launched a new initiative, dubbed "Western Balkan QUAD – 100% compliance with EU foreign policy”, at a meeting in Skopje on March 29.
The focus of the meeting was the four countries’ full compliance with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) “in light of the new geo-political reality, hybrid threats, the energy crisis and the economic consequences caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine”, a statement from the Macedonian foreign ministry said.
The four aspiring EU members were quick to impose sanctions on Russia following the invasion of Ukraine a year ago, and have also extended humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
Meanwhile, Serbia, which maintains good relations with Moscow, has refused to join the sanctions, despite being under pressure to align with EU foreign policy. Efforts by some Bosnian leaders to join the sanctions have been thwarted by the Bosnian Serb leadership, which too has close relations with Russia.
The platform was launched by North Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani, Albania’s Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs Olta Xhacka, Kosovo’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora Kreshnik Ahmeti and the foreign policy advisor to the prime minister of Montenegro. Djordje Radulovic.
"After the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, alignment with the CSDP, but even more broadly with the positions and values of the democratic world, turned into one of the most important priorities of the countries aspiring for EU membership, but also as a clear message of where these countries belong," said Osmani, according to the statement.
“[Today] in #Skopje we launched #WB QUAD w/100% #CFSP alignment. Platform for closer coop. among the countries w/ full compliance with the #EU CFSP, but also more broadly with the democratic values & principles,” he wrote on Twitter.
“An excellent initiative from Minister @Bujar_O [Osmani]. We look forward to deepening our cooperation within the Western Balkans QUAD,” wrote Ahmeti on Twitter.