Belgian Foreign Minister met with Austrian Foreign Minister Schallenberg –

Initially, Foreign Minister Schallenberg congratulated his counterpart on his appointment in July 2022.

Austrian Foreign Minister Schallenberg stressed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has once again highlighted a particular geopolitical significance of the EU enlargement process.” To prevent Russia from destabilize the region, the European Union must offer the Western Balkan countries a credible perspective Schallenberg and Lahbib argue that concrete progress is urgently needed by the end of 2022. For example, granting candidate status to the EU to Bosnia and Herzegovina and visa liberalization for Kosovo are long overdue, according to Schallenberg.

During the conversation, Foreign Minister Schallenberg underlined the excellent relations between Austria and Belgium and suggested increased cooperation in the field of asylum and migration. Both countries would face similar challenges in this regard. On the state of EU enlargement in the Western Balkan states, Foreign Minister Schallenberg stressed the need for visible progress this year.

In addition, the Minister of Foreign Affairs suggested continuing the discussion on the model of gradual integration of candidate countries into the EU proposed by Austria. Given the changing geopolitical framework conditions, the enlargement process must be revived and not get stuck in familiar patterns, he said.

In his exchange with Foreign Minister Lahbib, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg also addressed Russian President Vladimir Putin’s speech on September 21, 2022. Both Foreign Ministers condemned the unprecedented explicit nuclear threats, which make a more and more remote diplomatic solution.

The foreign ministers also underlined that Austria and Belgium strongly condemn the holding of illegal mock referendums to justify Russia’s annexation of Ukrainian territories. Sham referendums have no legitimacy under international law and, like the annexation of Ukrainian territories, will not be recognized by Austria.

BMEIA Federal Ministry for European Integration and Foreign Affairs