Romania's Foreign Minister Teodor Melescanu attended an informal meeting of the EU foreign affairs ministers (Gymnich) in Sofia on Thursday and Friday, where he reconfirmed Romania's commitment to the EU continuing its enlargement policy and support for the Western Balkans, the Romanian Foreign Ministry (MAE) reported in a press statement on Friday.
The meeting also addressed current affairs on the European and international agenda, such as Syria and North Korea. At the discussions on Syria, the ministers analysed the recent developments, with emphasis on political and humanitarian approaches. The exchange of views centred on additional ways in which the European Union's efforts can contribute to the political process under the UN aegis in preparation for the Brussels II Conference, anticipating the parametres that would make possible its support and the size of post-conflict stabilisation and reconstruction.
Melescanu welcomed the initiative of organising a new conference on Syria in Brussels and reiterated the importance of the EU playing a pro-active role in advancing the political process under the umbrella of the UN and then in the post-conflict reconstruction process.
The main discussion regarded the Western Balkans, a priority of the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the European Union. The exchange of views took place amidst the publication by the European Commission on February 6 of its communication called "A Credible Enlargement Perspective for and Enhanced EU Engagement with the Western Balkans." General support for the European prospects of the region was voiced and taken as firm commitment on the part of the European Union to consistently supporting the reform process, with the main aim of strengthening the rule of law, enhancing security and migration cooperation, economic and social development, transport and energy connectivity, digital agenda, reconciliation and good neighbourly relations. Also discussed was the organisation of an informal Western Balkan Summit, to be held in Sofia on May 17.
Melescanu welcomed the publication of the European Commission's communication and its objectives to ensure a more visible presence of the EU in the region, aiming ultimately at enhancing the stability, security and prosperity of the Western Balkans.
The Romanian official highlighted the interest of Romania in the enlargement policy being further pursued, "an objective that will be persistently pursued in the next period, given that it is one of the priorities that Romania will advance in its first term as the president of the EU Council in the first half of 2019."
Melescanu voiced hope that the next years will witness "substantial progress with the Western Balkans fulfilling their commitments made and continuing their reform processes, thus ensuring a progressive rapprochement to the European Union based solely on their own merits, fulfilling the accession criteria and compliance with the provisions of the Treaty on European Union."
Part of the North Korean talks, the European foreign ministers looked into the recent developments as well as EU's related policy.
Informal talks with foreign ministers from the candidate countries regarded cooperation and partnership in the areas of security and defence, focusing on preventing radicalisation and combating terrorism and violent extremism, as well as jointly managing hybrid threats and strategic communication in the region.