Western Balkans is a term used in the European Union to refer to six countries in Southern and Eastern Europe that are covered by EU enlargement policy: Republic of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Republic of Kosovo, Republic of North Macedonia, and Republic of Serbia.
Poland supports the policy of European Union enlargement – we look at the enlargement process from a strategic perspective. This is a matter of security and stability for the whole continent. Instability in the EU's eastern and southern neighbourhoods makes it necessary for the EU, its Member States, and the countries covered by the EU's enlargement policy to work together to address such challenges as illegal migration, organised crime, hybrid threats, and interference by external actors. It should be stressed that Albania and Montenegro have been NATO members since 2009 and 2017, respectively. This is of a major geostrategic importance in the Mediterranean.
Poland's support for the enlargement is conditional on the Western Balkans' reform progress. However, we believe that the European integration process is the best tool for change — a stimulus to reforms and economic development in the region.
Among the Western Balkan countries, Montenegro and Serbia have started accession negotiations with the EU.
Poland supports candidates and potential candidates at two levels — political and technical. We want to share our transformation success and experience of the often difficult reform process.
We are an active member of the so called Friends of Enlargement, an informal group of Member States that support the enlargement process by fighting for the momentum of opening more chapters or for maximally pro-enlargement sentiment in the EU.
Our engagement in the region is constantly growing as evidenced by the frequent meetings of the Minister of Foreign Affairs with his counterparts from the Western Balkans (in 2018, 3 bilateral visits, participation in the Western Balkans Summit in London, numerous talks on the margins of multilateral meetings). Apart from bilateral issues, their topics always cover the accession process and specific initiatives that support integration.
Poland supports local communities in the Western Balkans as part of development assistance through small grants, which allow their beneficiaries to, for example, purchase medical equipment or renovate schools.
The Guidelines of the Republic of Poland’s policy towards the Western Balkans, adopted by the European Affairs Committee in 2014, are the framework for activities of all ministries.