EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini believes that the EU has the strongest influence in the Western Balkans region.
“I am not worried about the influence or the presence of any of the other partners that countries in the region can have” Mogherini said, and added:
“I have seen it myself and repeatedly, even during the course of last year, where many countries faced complicated political electoral cycles, to call it this way, when the European Union is there – and it is there with all its power, with all its presence coherently – there is no other partner that has a stronger influence than the European Union in the region, because the region is Europe.”
She was responding to Tanjug’s question as to whether she was concerned about “the influence of Russian propaganda in Serbia and the region,” the agency said in a report published late on Monday.
Speaking during a news conference following the EU Foreign Affairs Council, that she chaired and that discussed EU’s global strategic communications, Mogherini recalled that under the auspices of the European External Action Service, a team has been set up in charge of strategic communications with the countries of the region.
She says that it was ” too early to assess the results of its work.”
This is probably one of the files on which we are working the most. And this is in itself part of our strategic communication because you can have the best technical team doing strategic communication, if you don’t have the right policy, there is not much you can communicate about. On the Western Balkans, we do have a strong European Union stand and a strong European Union policy that is the basis for our effective communication,” she said.
Mogherini assessed that EU’s policy has “already improved a lot when we are clear in saying the future of the entire region is in the European Union.”
“We want and we need the Western Balkans to cooperate as a region, and to have this clear sense of direction towards the European Union. And mentioning the different six partners, the different steps and stages – each of them has its own specificity, but we have the clear and joint sense of direction of the region,” the EU official said.
Responding to Tanjug’s question about EU’s influence, and that of other outside factors in the region, Mogherini said:
“You look at the borders, there is no external border of any of the Western Balkans six. Their borders are all borders with European Union. We are one, we are a family. We are geographically and historically bound together. This is why when the European Union is consistent and coherent, and when our partners in the region are also consistent and coherent, no other influence or presence can be stronger than that.”