U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said on Wednesday that a whole, free and peaceful Europe was not possible without its southeast which must be integrated, and told the countries participating in the Brdo Brijuni Process that NATO's doors remained wide open.
My generation and the generation of my father have been dreaming of a Europe which is whole, peaceful and united and we believe that this is not possible without Europe's southeast which must be entirely integrated with the rest of Europe, Biden told the press after the Brdo-Brijuni Presidential Process summit in Zagreb.
This is a guarantee for a whole, free and peaceful Europe, he added.
He said the United States had never left this part of the world and that it was always watching over Europe, expressing his country's strong commitment to objectives set in the Dayton Accord.
For me, the entry of the Balkans and these countries into NATO and the EU is the best way to promote security and stability, Biden said, calling on members of the Brdo-Brijuni Presidential Process to be bold in launching the necessary reforms for entering Euro-Atlantic associations.
NATO's doors remain wide open. Croatia and Slovenia have shown that this is possible through reform and reconciliation, the U.S. Vice President said and in that context he specifically mentioned Montenegro.
We strongly support Montenegro's membership of NATO, Biden said.
This year alone, the U.S. invested 130 million dollars in this economically and strategically important region, he said. For me, there is no doubt; the future of the Western Balkans is within the European Union, Biden said, expressing concern with Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he said was an example of a stalemate in the process. He said the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina have been stopped on the path of progress due to the slowness of their leaders.
Biden also commented on the migrant crisis, saying it represented a difficult burden to the region. He said the crisis with a large influx of migrants had once again shown that Europe's southeast was exceptionally important for the entire Europe from the aspect of security and stability. The United States must get involved in the solving of the migrant crisis, Biden said, adding that the U.S. has set aside 4.5 billion dollars for Syrian refugees.
In his speech, he thanked his hosts, Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic and Slovenian President Borut Pahor for the idea which blossomed into a coalition between two statesmen.