LONDON, 5 May 2021 – We reaffirm our shared commitment to the security, economic recovery and European perspective of the six Western Balkans countries as a crucial investment for peace and stability. We emphasise the importance of advancing the necessary internal reforms, in particular on rule of law, including tackling organised crime, illicit finance and corruption, with tough action taken against the most egregious cases. We therefore support the formal opening of EU accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia. We support further progress on regional cooperation especially through the Common Regional Market, Green Agenda for the Western Balkans and Berlin Process. We urge Kosovo and Serbia to engage constructively in negotiations in the framework of the EU-facilitated dialogue and to normalise fully their relations through a comprehensive and legally-binding agreement which contributes to regional stability. We support the implementation of the reform agenda related to the EU accession negotiations with Montenegro and Serbia. We call on the countries in the region to expand domestic political space and improve the environment for civil society and independent media. Unwarranted speculation about border changes along ethnic lines is no solution to the challenges faced by the region. Such changes would constitute a threat to regional security. We firmly reject any attempt to undermine the territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina. We urge all parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina to agree, and to implement, electoral and limited constitutional reforms, to implement European Court of Human Rights judgments, and to work closely with the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and the Venice Commission to move the country closer to realising its democratic aspirations. We welcome the candidacy of Christian Schmidt as High Representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina.