UK must continue to engage in the Western Balkans post-Brexit

10 Jan 2018 12:32 PM

The UK must continue to support countries of the Western Balkans and continue to champion their accession to EU Membership, says Lords report published today.

Background

The Lords International Relations Committee today published its report, 'The UK and the Future of the Western Balkans', in which it states the UK must continue its engagement with the region, along with international partners, to protect the progress made in the region since the 1990s.

Chairman's comments

Commenting on the report, the Chairman of the Committee, Lord Howell of Guildford, said:

The UK must continue to engage with partners in the EU and internationally to promote stability and democratic reform in the Western Balkans; that is in everyone's interests. We welcome the Government's decision to host the Western Balkans Summit this year and will look to it as a symbol of the commitment of the Government to the region even after the UK leaves the European Union.

Other conclusions and recommendations

  • The prospect of Brexit is having an impact in the region. To counter it will require a strong re-affirmation of British commitment.

  • Engagement will require new ways of coordinating and cooperating with the EU and its Member States.
  • The Committee agrees with the Government's support of countries in the region having membership of NATO and the EU as their goals, and supports efforts to overcome obstacles to those aims.
  • The destabilising influences of outside powers in the region, notably Russia, must be firmly and persistently countered.
  • The Western Balkans Summit should be used to demonstrate the UK's support for freedom of the press, the rule of law, and the role of civil society in open democracies.
  • The UK must continue to support efforts to combat corruption and organised crime in the region, and must continue its close operational links with the EU on matters of justice and home affairs in the interests of national security.
  • The UK should continue to provide training and advice to agencies in the region responsible for combatting terrorism and de-radicalisation.

Further information