Czech foreign minister stresses importance of Western Balkans joining EU

The countries of the Western Balkans must be given the chance to join the European fold, Czech Foreign Minister Tomáš Petříček said in an interview for the ctk news agency.

Petříček said the Czech Republic and Slovakia had agreed to work together to try to convince those EU members who are against further EU expansion of the need for this. He said countries such as the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and other members of the Visgrad group, which had experience with economic reform and EU accession talks, could assist the Western Balkans in this respect.

The Czech foreign minister stressed the importance of launching accession talks with Albania and Macedonia next year and speeding up the talks with Montenegro and Serbia.

In the interview the foreign minister also said Czech foreign policy should be more focussed on human rights issues in countries such as China, Yemen or Venezuela.